The Zapotec civilisation covered much of what is now the modern region of Oaxaca in mexico. While the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilisations are more well know, the Zapotec’s have become renowned for the beauty of their hand woven Zapotec Indian rugs. The techniques have been passed down from ancient times and are still practised today.
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Mexican Zapotec Rug Buyers Guide
Zapotec Rugs, similar to Aztec Rugs are not an actual type of rug, but are known in the West due to the popularity of rugs from Zapotec descendants, in particular the town of Teotitlan. Their weaving techniques were influenced by the Spanish and refined with the became internationally known in the 20th century due to their artistry.
Zapotec Rug Style, Patterns & Colours
The Zapotec weavers incorporate glphys and patterns representing different animals, gods, people and stories of their history and culture. Mixtec writing (image based writing system) of the region is also heavily featured.
Rug designs are also heavily influenced by weavings from other tribes locally and abroad, borrowing many common symbols from Navajo rugs.
Common natural dyes used in the rugs are:
- The cochineal insect for red shades
- The cempasuchil flower for yellow shades.
- Indigo leaves to obtain blue hues.
- Pecan bark and walnut husks make tan and brown colors.
- Huisache pods for black.
- To preserve the wool, take care not to fold against the weave and it can cause damage and irreparable marks.
- The best way to keep your rug clean is to regularly clean it with a standard vacuum on both sides.
- For stains and marks that wont come out with vacuuming, always take to a professional cleaner.
- For authentic wool rugs, there is always a chance that there are insect eggs in the rug. Put the rug in a bag and place in the freezer to kill them off.