This cotton shawl, woven by the Ixbalam Ke cooperative in Guatemala, is an intricate spaced plainweave with inlay called picb’il—a type of brocaded design woven on backstrap looms. This ancient Mayan weaving style was rapidly disappearing. Now, the women weavers who live in the community of Samac de Cobán in Alta Verapaz have dedicated themselves to preserving this traditional textile. The white-on-white inlay motifs are inspired by their natural surroundings.
The more this shawl is handwashed, the softer it becomes.
Tucked away in the cloud-forest area northeast of Guatemala City, is the community of Samac de Cobán in Alta Verapaz. Here, the Ixbalam Ke cooperative formed with about fifty women dedicated to the production of traditional textiles and preservation of traditional weaving. The sale of their weavings is their family’s primary income for their basic home, food, and education for their children. Learn More