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Old Special Paya with White woven Veil from Patzun


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This extraordinary hand embroidered piece is a ceremonial Veil called “Paya”. Consists of one paneled cotton fabric, hand embroidered, mounted on a white cloth and used as a ceremonial head veil during the celebrations of weddings or Cofradía ceremonies. Patzún is one of the few towns where the paya is used as a veil for women. Another characteristic is that the embroidery is made by men. This piece has different symbols and each of them represents a special element such as: nine half-moons which belong to the nine months of pregnancy; two double headed eagles representing duality; three sections of leaves representing the tree of life; two jaguars and two deer at each end symbolizing royalty; three birds or doves to send the messages to the sky; beneath both deer a figure of a monstrance (a catholic figure) symbolizing the sun – the center of the universe; a symmetric cross which indicates the four corners of the universe. A group of three silk tassels hang on one side. The Paya is mounted on a hand woven cotton fabric with a lace ribbon that decorate the veil.

Age: Approximately woven in the 1940’s.
Ethnic Group: Kakchiquel
Origin: Patzún, Chimaltenango.
Materials: cotton and silk
Use: ceremonial veil
Technique: hand embroidered
Size: Approximately 87.5" x 30.5"
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