Now Reading
Mayan Weaving Textiles And How To Preserve The Culture In Guatemala

In partnership with MARYSAL.

Mayan weaving textiles originate from the beautiful Central American country of Guatemala which is characterized by its rich culture, including ceremonies and beautiful colorful costumes. The majority of indigenous peoples in Guatemala are of Mayan descent. Mayan Indians are, in particular, known for their colorful Mayan textile weaving art, which they have been able to preserve until today despite persecution and civil war. But due to mass consumption, their traditional handicrafts are threatened with extinction. Therefore, it is important that we understand and appreciate their handicraft as a culture. We can use the modern world to preserve traditions by loving and buying this original craftsmanship and supporting local family businesses. That’s exactly what the German Aline does with her online shop MARYSAL-SHOP.COM. Let us introduce you to Aline´s story and her lovely ethical accessories store MARYSAL.

POP-UP in Berlin: Visit the MARYSAL Pop-Up store 29 June – 6 July in Berlin during Berlin Fashion Week at Nandi: Dunckerstraße 11, 10437 Berlin.

Photos: MARYSAL

Aline´s Dream

“During my first trip to Guatemala in 2010, I was inspired and fascinated by the diverse culture, the mystical highland and the colorful weaving art of the Mayan Indians. I had the desire to make traditional handicrafts combined with contemporary design accessible to people in other parts of the world and to capture the magic of this culture for them. A dream was born and has not disappeared from my mind for years. During my first stay in Guatemala, I worked on an aid project. This work was a drastic experience for me and strengthened my desire to support the wonderful culture of the Mayan Indians in some way. It still took a few years to implement my idea, when I was still working in an investment bank.”

Shop Bags

Turning Aline´s Dream Into Reality

In 2014, Aline decided to make her dream come true. She traveled to Guatemala, searched for a local family-run weaving factory and founded her online shop MARYSAL. Now she works with her friend Maria who is based in Guatemala and MARYSAL presents two main collections: The “MAYA” collection with bags and pillowcases and the “APACHE” collection with accessories. Yes, “APACHE”! Now you ask what the Apache Indians have to do with Guatemala? Well, on Aline´s travels through Guatemala she met an Apache family who emigrated from New Mexico, USA, to Guatemala who creates these beautiful accessories and now they are available at MARYSAL. Made of genuine leather, handpicked feathers, and precious stones, these accessories have a great meaning in Native American culture and tradition: `Feathers mean a lot to Native American Tribes. A feather isn’t just something that falls out of a bird, it means much more. The feather symbolizes trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, freedom and many more things. To be given one of these is to be hand picked out of the rest of the men in the tribe – it’s like getting a gift from a high official.´ Each product tells its own story in the form of symbolism, patterns and color combinations and is handcrafted with great care with the mission of quality over quantity!

Shop Cushions

The Mayan Weaving Textiles Art

In the Guatemalan highlands, indigenous Mayans turn thousands of tiny threads into work of art using an ancient weaving technique that has been passed on by generations. Their weaving art is among the most complex in Latin America. Women produce the textiles on the back belt loom, men always weave on the running board loom. The weaving process is complex and takes a long time. Imagine, the production of one square meter of fabric can take up to 3 months!

To bring new life to traditional garments and to reduce the environmental footprint, MARYSAL uses mainly upcycled traditional materials such as Huipil or Corte fabrics. “Huipil is the traditional blouse of Mayan women. Corte is the traditional skirt, which the Maya Indians still wear in everyday life,” explains Aline. For the pillowcases, upcycled vintage textiles like velvet, super soft Chenille, canvas, and handwoven mohair are used.

Colors Reflect The Elements Of Earthly Living

The famous characters of the Mayan weaving design are the colorful variety of color mixture. Despite great poverty, diverse bold colors shine towards you with joy for life. Spirituality and respect for the earth and its creatures are essential in the Mayan Indian culture thus each color reflects an element of earthly life: Blue represents the sky, red the blood, yellow and orange rays of light from the sun and brown and black stand for the fertile earth.

mayan weaving art

Shop Accessories With A Value

With the different symbols, patterns and color combinations, every item tells its own story and all MARYSAL pieces are unique. You will rarely find two that are the same. The bags are eye-catching companions for the city, the beach or a local market stroll. Shop your favorite clutch, shopper, wallet, cosmetics bag, backpack, laptop case and more. No matter which bag you choose, each one has its own character. The same applies to the pillowcases: the designs vary depending on the region they are produced. Vintage-inspired hand-embroidered details, cozy textures and geometric patterns add a retro flair to your home. You can choose between different sizes, combine them and pile them up to create a one-of-a-kind look.

See Also

Photos: MARYSAL

MARYSAL Supports Women Artisans In Guatemala

Weaving is one way for women in Guatemala to financially support their families. MARYSAL gives these impressive women the opportunity to sell their beautiful products not only in local villages but worldwide. MARYSAL provides fair wages, a stable income, and good working conditions and plans to invest parts of their profits in development projects and education in the future. With the purchase of a MARYSAL product, you support family businesses in Guatemala and ensure to preserve the extraordinary traditional craftsmanship and cultural identity of the Mayan Indians.

MARYSAL Pop Up During Berlin Fashion Week!

Come to the MARYSAL Pop-Up store 29 June – 6 July in Berlin during Berlin Fashion Week at Nandi: Dunckerstraße 11, 10437 Berlin.


Text: Mia Windisch-Graetz, Text & copy writing: Antonia Böhlke

Read our story about the WAYUU culture in Colubmbia and their beautiful textiles art here.