the “matriarchal” society of the Zapotecs in Mexico that inspired the dresses of the iconic artist

It is one of Frida Kahlo’s best-known paintings: the artist appears in a flower dress and pink bows that covers her entire body.

In the middle of the white headdress her face appears and on her forehead the tattooed image of Diego Rivera, with whom the artist was married until her death, on July 13, 1954.

one of the gala dresses of the Zapotec women.“data-reactid =” 34 “> The painting is called” Self-portrait as Tehuana “and shows one of the gala dresses of the Zapotec women.

It is also a sample of Kahlo’s relationship with her body, which is present in almost all her work.

“She not only covers it and hides it, not only shows it and attracts admiration about her; her dress gives her an identity,” Andrade continues.

the popular and the indigenous“he adds.” data-reactid = “61”> “And in that chronicle of her own sufferings, which is her painting, her clothing is a very important narrative element. Because of her folk costume, Frida identifies with the popular and the indigenous“he adds.

“Indomitable women”

In this definition, Zapotec women were basic. There are reasons for this, say specialists.

Several led some of the most important movements in the history of the region, and it is now common for them to contribute most of the family income.

More than that social model, some believe that there is an unusual participation of women, as it does not exist in the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

leading figures in cultural and social lifeHe of the Zapotec people on the Isthmus, “historian Victor Cata tells BBC World.” data-reactid = “89”> “They have been leading figures in cultural and social lifel of the Zapotec people on the Isthmus, “historian Victor Cata tells BBC World.

“That untamed nature of women has fascinated artists, painters, storytellers and has led them to portray the region as a matriarchy.”

An important part and contribute to the development of this indigenous society “.” data-reactid = “91”> But really, “women have An important part and they contribute to the development of this indigenous society. “

“Women travelers”

The leading role of the Zapotecs is ancient. Víctor Cata says that there are records of women who in the 16th century traveled through the Mexican southeast to the territory that is now Guatemala.

they had a fundamental role. “data-reactid =” 115 “> In 1660 there was an indigenous rebellion on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where 4 women, Lucía María, Francisca Cecilia, Magdalena María and Gracia María, known as” La Crespa “, they had a fundamental role.

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The civil wars of the 19th century caused many Zapotec men to be recruited by the different armies.

In the first years of the 20th century, a railway was built to the city of Tehuantepec, which generated intense activity and the need for services that were covered by Zapotec women.

make them independent” Explain.” data-reactid = “146”> “Trade forces them to confront another language, other cultures, make them independent” Explain.

“The traveling women did not need to be married, they traveled alone, they sold shrimp, turtle eggs, tortilla chips (fried pieces of corn tortilla) and in return they brought products from Guatemala or Belize and resold them here.”

Trade gave them money and that gave them authority, power of decision to run a house “.” data-reactid = “148”> This independence was joined by another, the economic one. “Trade gave them money and that gave them authority, power of decision to run a house. “

That allowed them not to depend on anyone or allow them to be exploited, adds historian Leticia Reina.

Diego Rivera’s paradise

Indigenous peoples were a fundamental part of Rivera’s murals, and also a matter of interest to Kahlo.

Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo visited the Itsmo de Tehuantepec in the 30s of the last century

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The couple claimed the original customs and cultures at a time when rural and especially indigenous communities were virtually ignored.

On that road he came to the Zapotec region, which for Diego Rivera was an earthly version of paradise.

This was particularly strong in indigenous communities, but not in the Zapotec people, where relations between men and women seemed less unequal.

strong, empowered and atypical women for their time“recalls the historian Cata.” data-reactid = “180”> The artist “was fascinated by these strong, empowered and atypical women for their time“recalls the historian Cata.

The controversial matriarchy

With some variations, the essence of the Zapotec society of the Isthmus that Frida Kahlo found is very similar to that of today.

Unlike other communities in the country, especially in indigenous regions, in the festivities it is common for women to dance among themselves, without the need for men.

Margaret Dalton says no. The presence of many women in activities that are occupied by men in other parts of the country is part of daily life in the region.

Many men are engaged in fishing or agriculture, for example, with days that start and end very early.

But at the same time many of the decisions of the communities of the Isthmus are made with the consensus of women, which does not happen in other indigenous communities.

More than a custom, an identity trait. Hilda Trujillo, director of the Frida Kahlo Museum, agrees on this.

create your own character, to create your uniqueness “ wrote when presenting the exhibition The exhibition of an identity through clothing: Frida Kahlo. “data-reactid =” 236 “>” Frida uses Mexican clothing to create your own character, to create your uniqueness “ wrote when presenting the exhibition The exhibition of an identity through clothing: Frida Kahlo.

“He did so much that he was attracting attention everywhere,” he concludes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP0AgFBUKVQ“data-reactid =” 239 “> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP0AgFBUKVQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFY6U5zH1-4“data-reactid =” 240 “> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFY6U5zH1-4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqGT5wh5REw&t=2s“data-reactid =” 241 “> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqGT5wh5REw&t=2s