Found in central eastern Mexico, Tenango de Doria, in the State of Hidalgo, is the place these colourful embroidered pieces originated from in the 1960s in response to an economic crisis. It is estimated that over 1,200 artisans practice the craft.
A group of women in this region, have dedicated their life to wearing out their sight and their hands to create true textile art pieces. They depict the flora and fauna found in the region, either arranged in a pattern or set up to form scenes from daily life, folk festival or religion.
There is evidence that embroidery existed in the pre Hispanic period in Mesoamerica but it underwent radical change with the introduction of European techniques and designs. It has always been traditionally women’s work, with daughters learning from mothers. Even today, most of the work is done within individual families, but there are cooperatives of women who work together to produce and promote their products.
‘Tenangos’, the name these compositions are known as, are a mosaic of colour shaped on canvas, and a beautiful and versatile home ware that complements many different styles. Better tenangos have small, tight stiches, with a well-done tablecloth or bedspread taking up to six years to make.