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JEMEZ SHIRT, circa 1840-1850

twcjsJemez Pueblo is located in the Jemez Mountains southwest of what is now the city of Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Jemez are rugged, inhospitable mountains, and have been that way for centuries. While the Spanish colonized the pueblos along the Rio Grande Valley during the 17th and 18th centuries, Jemez Pueblo remained independent from the Spanish, largely because of its isolated location in the Jemez Mountains. That independence preserved many of the design traditions in Jemez weaving and Jemez pottery – traditions the Jemez people inherited from there Anasazi Ancestors.

Embroidery was a common design technique among the cotton weavings produced by the Anasazi between 800 and 1300 AD. This Jemez shirt is a tour de force of embroidery. It reveals a strong Meso-American influence, particularly in the areas where the cotton foundation comes through the red and brown embroidery. The red blocks running along the shoulders and waist of the shirt are stylized tobacco leaves. The presence of stars and tobacco gave the owner of this garment the opportunity to be simultaneously clothed in the earth and the sky. - Joshua Baer
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