Mexican artist, Saltillo serape (detail), 1750–1800, wool, cotton, dye. The Christina N. and Swan J. Turnblad Memorial Fund and Gift of Funds from Sandra Butler, Sara and David Lieberman, and Susan de Jong, 93.41

Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month with a serape made more than two centuries ago

The Saltillo serape on display in Mia’s lobby.

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15) celebrates the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. It also honors  the independence days of many Latin American countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chile. Mia is marking the month with the display of a traditional serape in the museum lobby, made in Saltillo, Mexico, sometime between 1750 and 1800.

The serape is among the finest textile traditions in the Americas, the result of centuries of merging Native American and European weaving methods. Vividly colored and finely woven, the traditional serape was especially prized by horsemen, who wore them over one shoulder, for protection from cold and rain. Its design is based on three distinctive elements: a large central diamond or circle, a background field with intricate patterns, and a border or frame. Serapes were most famously traded in the town of Saltillo, in northern Mexico, but were also found in more distant markets in the southwestern United States.