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Teotitlán del Valle

Introducing Teotitlán del Valle

This famous weaving village is 4km north of Hwy 190, about 25km from Oaxaca. The weaving tradition here goes back to pre- Hispanic times: Teotitlán had to pay tributes of cloth to the Aztecs. Quality today is high, and traditional dyes made from natural sources like indigo, cochineal and moss have been revived (though some weavers continue to use much cheaper synthetic dyes). The variety of designs is enormous – from Zapotec gods and Mitla-style geometric patterns to imitations of paintings by Rivera and Picasso.

Many tour groups only get as far as the larger weaving showrooms on the road approaching the village, which tend to dominate the craft here by buying up weavers’ products or employing weavers directly to weave for them. They typically give 30% commission to tour firms or guides whose clients make purchases. For more direct interaction with weavers head on into the village itself, where blankets and rugs wave at you from houses, workshops and showrooms along the streets. Signs point to the central Mercado de Artesanías, where yet more are on sale. Around 150 Teotitlán families specialize in weaving; they are often happy to demonstrate their techniques and methods of obtaining natural dyes.