This week I’m featuring super colourful photograph of Mayan woman in traditional Mayan cinta. Taken in Santiago, Guatemala by James Kelley.
James left the American dream to pursue an insatiable love for travel. You can read more about his adventures and travels abroad on his blog Escaping Abroad. Or just follow him on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated with his most current adventures!
Picture Story: Woman in Mayan cinta, Guatemala
I was visiting Santiago, a small town cramped between Lake Atitlán and the large cliffs surrounding it. Santiago is made up of 95% Mayans and this particular community speaks Tzutujil language.
The traditional Mayan clothing and fashion can be seen all over the country but each region has its own unique style.
The woman in the photograph operated a textile shop on the main street. The Mayan cinta she’s wearing on her head was once a part of women’s attire, but is now a dying tradition rarely seen. I saw it worn no where else during my trip to Guatemala.
She was delighted to demonstrate how to properly put on and wear the cinta. A process that takes several minutes and weaves into the hair.
Cintas are generally long, measuring 10 feet or more in some cases and between 1-4 inches wide. Like the majority of Mayan’s tradition clothing cintas are intricately woven from hand with colourful designs that often tell stories. In some regions the style indicates if a woman is married or single, or even if she has children.
You might be wondering how the cinta came to be of significance.. like many Mayan traditions it has a long and mythical history. The Mayan cinta is similar to ancient headdresses depicted in sculptures from the Mesoamerican classical period (c. 200 to 900 AD).
The cinta represents the serpent (snake) worn by the Mayan goddess Ix Chel. Ix Chel is the Mayan people’s earth and moon goddess, as well as the goddess of weaving and pregnant women.