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Textile Museum of Oaxaca: tradition and contemporary art

The Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO). Located in the historic center of the city, an eighteenth-century house was restored in 2007 being the place where you can see these traditional looms. In this place, traditions, people, and contemporary design and art coexist.

The ethnic cultural richness that characterizes Oaxaca is unique: Mixes, Mazatecs, Zapotecs, Triquis to name a few. This exquisite wealth allows the origin of various cultural expressions and traditions such as textiles, being Oaxacan one of the most characteristic of the Mexican territory. There are about 300 typical costumes, woven in cotton, silk, and wool. For women, the traditional dress is the huipil, a kind of sleeveless shirt that can have different lengths; below the knee for the Zapotecs above the knee for the Mazatecs. 

This dress is complemented by a tangle at the waist that, like the huipil, is placed at different heights. The outstanding thing about Oaxacan textiles is that they date back to pre-Hispanic times and there are a lot of textiles that are made on the traditional waist loom. To give it the color, natural pigments such as indigo, cochineal grana, and purple snail are still used. These textiles are extraordinarily decorated with embroidery that represents the motifs of pre-Hispanic origin and the indigenous vision.

Image by Erwin Verbruggen

This work and tradition, have deserved to be exhibited to be admired by the whole world and found a place: The Textile Museum of Oaxaca (MTO). Located in the historic center of the city, an eighteenth-century house was restored in 2007 being the place where you can see these traditional looms. In this place, traditions, people, and contemporary design and art coexist.

The purpose of the Textile Museum of Oaxaca

The mission of the venue is to provide a vision of the designs and techniques, as well as the processes of elaboration of the textiles of the region, of Mexico, and the world, through exchanges of knowledge thanks to exhibitions, workshops, and conferences.

Having textile pieces from all over the world and mainly from Oaxaca, this museum gives the world great artistic diversity.

What does the Textile Museum of Oaxaca offers?

The Textile Museum of Oaxaca offers an exhibition of around 7,000 pieces, which have been distributed in nine permanent private collections. The oldest textiles that can be admired in one of the collections dates from the nineteenth century among which pieces such as the tlàmachtēntli stand out, which is a fragment of huipil made with feathered thread.

An extensive list of collections

Among the collections that can be found in the museum we can mention:

  • Collection de Alejandro Ávila
  • Collection Colección de Ernesto Cervantes
  • Collection Colección de Humberto Arellano Garza
  • Collection Octavia Schoendube de Boehm
  • Collection Madeline Humm de Mollet
  • Collection Paul Poudade

Events held at the museum

The museum offers a Mesoamerican Textiles Meeting, in which textile manufacturers are promoted and an artist is commemorated by offering an exhibition of his collection. Four editions of this event have been held, dedicated to:

  • Irmgard Weitlaner Johnson
  • Justina Oviedo Rangel
  • Ernesto Cervantes
  • Francisco Toledo

This museum has 5 temporary exhibition rooms

  • Grana Room
  • Indigo Room
  • Coyuchi Room
  • Caracol Room

Spaces for creativity and art

In addition, it has other spaces ready to awaken the creativity of any person such as:

  • Juan de Córdova Library
  • Shop
  • A children’s space
  • Ramps for people with disabilities

The museum is located in:

Hidalgo Avenue 917. Historic Center Oaxaca de Juárez.

Map to get to The Textile Museum of Oaxaca.
  • Visiting hours are Monday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m..
  • Admission is free.

The museum as part of its support for artists has an online store through which you can purchase unique pieces. With the purchase of these, the communities and cooperatives of the artists are supported. The address is:

You may also like these other places in Oaxaca:

Debes visitar: cabañas mágicas en San José del Pacífico

Oaxaca: Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo

Disfruta las raíces del mezcal, la bebida espiritual más antigua de México desde Quiegolani.

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