refajos envuelto (Skirt)

About this object

History of use

Skirt, post-conquest, based on that of conqueror's lady. Part of only outfit worn by lowest class, length determined by village custom. Finish on overlapping side determines village. Placement of ends indicate marital status. Held up by being lightly wrapped around hips, sometimes so tightly as to seem impossible to sit or walk (Osborne).


This object forms part of the Inge Ruus Collection of Guatemalan Textiles in the Museum of Anthropology. The Inge Ruus Collection of Guatemalan Textiles was collected on behalf of the Museum of Anthropology by Inge Ruus, Curatorial Assistant in the Museum from 1974 to 1978. Some items were purchased by the Museum and others were donated by Inge Ruus. Inge Ruus collected these materials while attending courses on Guatemalan textiles in Guatemala during the summers of 1976 and 1977, taught by Anne Lambert, instructor on textiles at the University of Alberta.

Cultural context

worn daily by women

Iconographic meaning

The insertion stitches, referred to locally as randas, were introduced by the Spanish of Moorish origin, and take the form of a cross, formed by a vertical line of stitches, running up the back, intersecting around the buttock (Osborne).

Physical description

Skirt made with pieces of cotton fabric with raw edges joined by a two central embroidered strips to form a rectangular tube. The detailing consists of a vertical pattern of two narrow, white, parallel pinstripes on a navy ground. The central embroidered hand sewn strips run horizontally and vertically making a cross-like pattern. It is in repeating colours of red, orange, purple, blue and white.