Weaving threads and painting bodies: Huasteca women, clothing, and embodiment during the Late Classic to Postclassic




Sanchez Balderas, Adriana Fabiola

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This is an emerging analysis of the use of a cape type garment, the dhayemlaab in the Teenek language, also known as the quexquemitl in Nahuatl language, among modern Huasteca women as an analogy to an illustrative group of feminine imagery, including ceramics and sculpture, from the Huasteca region. Huasteca is located in the northeast of Mexico along the Gulf coast, and this paper will explore evidence for practices of embodiment at a time of social change in the Late Classic and Postclassic periods. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that elite women used the dhayemlaab /quexquemitl to negotiate their social position. An integrated application of perspectives on embodiment, ethnohistorical sources, ethnography, and material culture illuminate the visible role for women as active participants in ritual practices among the Huasteca. This paper seeks to understand the relationship between body and embodiment through the dhayemlaab/quexquemitl dress used by elite women in the Huasteca to negotiate their social status during the Late Classic to Postclassic period (600-1521 CE).



Feminine imagery, Body, Identity, Embodiment, Huasteca, Late Classic, Postclassic