Textiles  of the North American Southwest
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Hispanic Pictorial Weaving
Irvin Trujillo
Chimayó, New Mexico

Catalog Information
Ikat Dyeing

Ikat is one of the most complicated approaches to dyeing found anywhere in the world. Some sections of the yarn to be used in a weaving are knotted or covered with an impermeable material and then the yarn is dyed. The dye does not penetrate these sections, so the different sections of yarn display different colors. Textile designs woven with ikat-dyed yarn appear slightly out of focus, often resembling reptilian markings.

Ikat dyeing was practiced in the Americas before the arrival of the Spanish, in ancient Peru and possibly Central America. Most scholars assume, however, that it was introduced to Mexico during the Spanish colonial period from Asia.

Ikat-dyed textiles from Asia appeared in Mexico in the 16th century as part of the extensive trade between Asia and Europe that crossed Mexico. Mexican weavers adopted the technique to produce their own distinctive versions of these textiles.


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