Browsing for handwoven rugs of the ancient Zapotecs in Teotitlán del Valle

Driving around México one will sooner or later find towns and villages that are specialized in one certain thing. Like making guitars. Or rocking chairs. We even passed a town which was specialized in colorful wooden toy trucks. The whole town makes just that one thing. Everywhere you go, you’ll just find variations of that one special thing, different sizes, colors, but still always that one thing.

It’s amazing.

Teotitlán del Valle is a small town in Oaxaca State at the foot of the Sierra Juárez mountains where the people have specialized in handwoven rugs. They are descendants of the ancient Zapotecs and are still using the patterns of their people.

They use wool from local sheep which is for the most part dyed with local, natural dyes for example with the peel of pomegranates. The colors are beautifully earthy.


Our group of 6 adults and 6 kids came over this sleepy village like a busy swarm of bees.

Teotitlán del Valle Mexico

The kids enjoyed the large, shady room in a artisan’s gallery and started running around while the adults where trying to figure out which woven handbags would be the best match to their other wardrobe.

Teotitlán del Valle Mexico

We got a small tour through the rooms of the brothers Ismael & Edgardo, local rug weavers that claim to use only natural and organic colors.

Teotitlán del Valle Mexico

We saw a couple of looms with rugs in the making.

Loom for rug weaving in Teotitlán del Valle Oaxaca Mexico


Rug weaving loom in Teotitlán del Valle Mexico

Edgardo showed us how the weaving works.

Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico

We were all amazed by the rugs. And everyone of us had their own favorite color combination. I was immediately drawn to the lower rug in the corner, with the red and yellow smaller stripes and larger grey stripe in between. It took me a while to not buy it. No room in our trailer for it and especially now home for the next few months where we could put it.

Teotitlán del Valle, Mexico

If you’re interested in buying a handwoven wool rug from the ancient Zapotecs please let me know. We’re still in the area for a couple of days and I’d love to help you get one of those lovies.

Either comment below or contact me via this form.

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  17 comments for “Browsing for handwoven rugs of the ancient Zapotecs in Teotitlán del Valle

  1. January 18, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I found the same when I was in Mexico last year but where I was they sold smoking pipes! These are absolutely gorgeous and a great way to bring a bit of local culture home

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      It’s very interesting to see how those small towns specialize in one thing and really everyone in that town seems to make only that. They must have family members travel to markets to sell the articles.

  2. Tatum
    January 18, 2017 at 8:35 am

    The time and effort it takes to make one of these rugs is astounding. I’m not sure I would have the patience!! As a side note though, your pictures are amazing!! The one of the little boy is my fav!

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      Awe!! Thank you! That’s Mika. He loved running around in the Artist’s gallery 🙂

  3. January 18, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Such a fascinating way to discover an ancestral and unique culture! What a great experience it must have been – and I love the colors 🙂

  4. Meg
    January 18, 2017 at 9:42 am

    These photographs are stunning! It’s amazing to see such beautiful craftsmanship in these textiles. I truly wouldn’t know which one to choose!

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      There might be one speaking to you just like the one I saw. I mean I liked many of the designs and the colors where all amazing but one rug immediately spoke to me. I should have bought it… 🙂

  5. January 18, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Oh this reminds me so much of a silk farm I went to in Laos! I saw them dying all the silks with natural ingredients- the colours were stunning! And the weaving…omg. So much work! I’d be such a mess. There are some seriously talented people out there!

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      Absolutely! My friend stayed in Teotitlán to take a class about the dying and weaving process. I’m curious how she likes it.

  6. January 18, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I like the story telling style of your blog post. Mexico seems to be packed with interesting details. I’m planning a trip in April and am confident my camera wil love the country.

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      There is so much to see and photograph here. If you have a chance to got to San Miguel de Allende, do it. Most beautiful city I’ve seen in Mexico so far.

  7. January 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    The rugs are beautiful. It looks like a tedious process, but the results are amazing.

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:46 pm

      Yeah, it must take for ever to finish one of those beauties. Will ask next time how long they need to make one.
      Thanks for reading my post!

  8. January 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Wow! So cool! I love how you captured the amazing colors of these rugs. Are most of the people in the town rug weavers? Also, what is the price range of the rugs? We might be interested if you could ship it to Ireland. 🙂

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      Yes, the most people in town are all rug weavers or family of rug weavers or people that work with rug weavers. It’s amazing how one town can survive that way.
      I’ve sent you a message regarding the rugs.

  9. January 18, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    You can buy so much great stuff in Mexico! I love their silver and pottery too. The rugs you found are so lovely and colorful!

    • January 18, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Oh the silver! There is just so much, it’s almost unreal. I haven’t been to a pottery town yet, so looking forward to visiting one!

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