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In Indian Mexico (1908) eBook

Frederick Starr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 409 pages of information about In Indian Mexico (1908).
time.  The skin was a rich brown; the eyebrows heavily haired, often meeting above the nose; the hair grew low upon the forehead, and in young women the forehead itself was covered with a fine downy black growth.  The nose was flat, broad, and depressed at the roots, while its tip was flat and wide.  The eyes were dark brown and the hair was black and coarse.  If we were to judge the population by the women only, we might call the Otomis true pygmies.  The average stature of 28 subjects was 1,435 millimeters—­while Sir William Flower’s limit for pygmy peoples is 1,500 millimeters.

[Illustration:  OTOMI INDIAN GIRLS; HUIXQUILUCAN]

[Illustration:  THE MOON-STONE, AT DOS RIOS STATION]

Many of the women whom we measured and photographed carried babies; the disposition of the children while the mothers were being examined was something of a problem.  When given to another woman they usually cried lustily, and so conducted themselves as to distract the attention of their mothers and interfere seriously with our work.  In the crowd of lookers-on there chanced to be a little girl, surely not more than ten years old, who seemed to be a born caretaker.  Upon her back, supported by her ayate, she carried her own baby brother.  We quickly found that really refractory babies were best committed to her charge.  No matter how loudly they might have been crying beforehand, when transferred to the arms of this little creature they became instantly quiet.  The poor little thing was kept busily employed the greater part of the afternoon with the two babies, one upon her back, the other in her arms.

Almost all the women wear the ancient costume, which consists of the huipil, enagua, faja, and ayate.  The huipil is a cotton blanket, with a slit through which the head passes.  On each side of the slit are bands of patterns embroidered in bright colors.  Much of the remaining surface of the garment may be similarly decorated; sometimes it becomes one mass of designs.  The patterns are usually geometrical figures, but may be representations of animals, birds, or human beings.  They may be regularly arranged, or jumbled together haphazard.  The enagua, skirt, consists of two strips of cloth of different kinds and colors, sewn together side by side and then wrapped horizontally about the body.  The strips of cloth are native spun, native dyed, and native woven.  The favorite colors are dark blue, brownish purple, or indian red, horizontally banded with narrow black stripes.  The two strips are usually joined by a line of colored stitching.  The enagua is simply wrapped about the body, sometimes thrown into pleatings in front, and held in place by a broad cotton belt of bright color, into which are woven birds, animals, human figures, and geometrical forms.  These belts are called by the Spanish name, faja.  Both men and women carry ayates.  These are square or rectangular

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