◊ cloth ◊
Today we went to the city of Saltillo. Everyone was wearing these things called “Sarapes.” It is not very well known where the Sarape originated, but it is definitely a fusion of indigenous and Spanish elements.
A Sarape is a rectangular cloth with or without an opening for the head. A Sarape has a variety of bright colors and it is very representative of Mexico. Some people associate Sarapes with the Mexican Revolution and icons like “The Charro” and “The Mariachi.”
I remember seeing one hanging up in my favorite Mexican restaurant back home. I thought it was just for decoration, but it turns out that people actually wear them. A regular Sarape is generally about 1.3 yards wide by 2.5 yards long, but they also come in a wide variety of sizes, from very big to very small. Usually they hang to about a person’s knees. The main motif in a Sarape design is either a diamond or a medallion shape. Often, the ends are fringed. Sarapes look kind of like ponchos, but they are so colorful!
During the 17th century, Sarapes went from being a simple garment used by travelers and vendors, to an original and very expensive textile. Only rich people had Sarapes. During the revolution, they became more accessible to other people, and were even often fabricated illegally in “Los telares” (looms) so they could be sold more cheaply.
The people here tell me that with tourism growing in the north of Mexico, and with Americans and Canadians passing through in their travels to the south of Mexico, the Sarape became a souvenir; a collectible article. The city of Saltillo became famous thanks to Sarapes! More and more people started to appreciate the fine and detailed work on each Sarape, which are often made by hand. I can’t wait to buy one, but I can’t seem to decide which one I like the best; they are all unique and so beautiful!