About an Unknown Artist's
INFORMATION ABOUT THE ARTWORK
REPRODUCTION: What can I learn about how this reproduction is different
from the original artwork?
This is a digitized image. The original is a woman's shirt called a
huipil. It is soft, made of velvet, and is heavily embroidered.
In the reproduction, the huipil is laid flat. Its form is only fully appreciated
when it is worn. A woman wearing this huipil would be aware of the weight
of the garment produced by the thick embroidery. Both the front and back
of the huipil are embroidered, but the digital image shows only the front.
The image cannot capture the tactile quality of embroidery and velvet.
The Huipil Tehuantepec is part of a larger costume. The full costume
includes a large, lacey headpiece, gold earrings, a gold pendant on a chain,
and a long skirt. The skirt is fully embroidered with the same style, large
flowers from waist to below the knees. The bottom twelve inches of the
skirt is a large, pleated, lace ruffle.
CONDITION: What can I determine about the condition of the artwork?
The huipil is in excellent condition.
SUBJECT MATTER: What can I determine about what the artwork depicts,
The huipil has a broad square of brightly colored embroidered flowers
in the front and back. There are three large red roses and seven smaller
blue, pink, and red flowers against a background of leaves. The square
of flora is embroidered onto black velvet.
TOOLS, MATERIALS, AND PROCESSES: What can I learn about how the artwork
A circle is cut into the middle of a large rectangular piece of black
velvet. It is folded in half and the cut circle provides the opening to
be slipped on over the head. The sides are sewn, leaving openings for the
arms. Cotton thread is used to thickly embroider the flowers. Thousands
of parallel stitches in rows (satin stitch) fill in the colors to form
the flowers and leaves. The yellow stamens in the center of the flowers
are formed with embroidered knots (French knots). Major shapes are outlined
with black, back-stitched lines.
Sensory Lesson Index
What visual elements do I see?
Small black lines outline many shapes within the floral pattern. Bands
of dark, medium, and light values of the same color create the effect of
light reflected from a curved surface. The juxtaposition of the velvet
black background (negative shapes) contrasts with and enriches the brilliant
colors of the leaves and flowers.
FORMAL ORGANIZATION: How do the elements in the artwork work together?
The square central panel mirrors the shape of the huipil itself. Curves
in the flowers are contrasted against the rigid outline of the panel as
well as the square shape of the entire garment. The organic scalloped edges
of the shapes produce a rhythmic quality. The embroidery vibrates with
an interplay of positive shapes formed by the flowers and the negative
velvet background. Colors are bright and complementary (red and green).
© 2001 Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University. All