These fashionable totes are ready to be taken anywhere! It comes with a bright and beautiful pompom, hand made by Donna Ana Lopez Entzin of Chiapas. The tote bag features a zippered closure, inside lining with a pocket, and the leather shoulder strap. The cosmetic bag comes features a zipper closure and inside lining.
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- (1) Large Henequen Tote Bag: measures 13” L x 10.5” H x 4” wide and features a zippered closure, inside lining with a pocket. Leather shoulder strap drop measures 10 inches long.
- (1) Hand made accent pompom
- (1) Henequen cosmetic bag: measures 8” L x 5” H x 3.5” W and features a zipper closure and inside lining.
Your Purchase Makes a Difference:
- Artisan Made
- Woman Empowerment
- Preserves Tradition
- Job Creator
- Hecho en Mexico
- Sustainable Product
The Henequen Story:
Plantation farms, Maya slave labor, Caribbean pirates, international trade, and civil war. The Henequen agave fiber was woven into it all. The Maya’s called it sakki, and legend tells us that on a dark and stormy night, the god of creation, Itzamna, bumped into the sakki (henequen) plant, its long sharp leaves wounding his leg. Itzamna’s followers, in anger, attempted to destroy the plant, cutting it down and smashing it against the rocks. But the wise Itzamna knew they would not succeed for the sakki’s fibers were strong and resilient, and so he taught the Maya about the sakki, how to harvest, process, and use it to weave ropes, textiles, clothing, and art. And so, the humble agave became a staple in their life and, hundreds of years later, the lives of the Spanish conquerors who lived in what is today the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.
The process is labor-intensive, cutting the 5 ft leaves of 7-year-old plants, drying them out in the sun, beating the plant to extract the fibers, and then painstakingly combing them over and over again until they are malleable enough to begin to wind and twist to create the thread. The arrival of the Industrial Revolution and the exploitation of indigenous labor made, what was at the time the strongest fiber/rope, much more economical to make and export. And so, the economic boom began and the plantations took more land and slave labor to weave more Henequen. From fine strands used to weave clothing, to twine used to wrap every single bundle of hay in the sprawling American Midwest, to sacks used to transport grain, and thick ropes the size of a man’s torso that tied ocean freighters to docks around the world, the Yucatan’s Henequen was the cash crop of the late 19th century.
Today Henequen has moved back to its humble beginnings, farmed and worked by local farmers instead of the mega haciendas of yesteryear. Locals, Maya decedents, work in cooperativo’s, ensuring fair wages and labor practices for their hard work and artesania. They focus mainly on textiles and fashion, as a way to showcase their artistic talents and fine weaving skills.