HENQUÉN FROM YUCATÁN
The state of Yucatán in South East Mexico is an important area within the wider Mayan region. It is home to many key archaeological sites of ancient Mayan cities and pyramids which are fascinating to visit and learn about the Mayan culture.
Yucatán has many areas of natural beauty including beaches, lagoons, mangroves and jungle, home to a huge variety of wildlife.
The peaceful yet bustling capital city of Mérida with its combination of Colonial architecture and later French influences, is well worth visiting for its beauty and atmosphere. It is a prominent centre for cultural activities and gastronomical options which comes alive as the sun sets and the temperatures drop.
Henequén is a plant of the Agave family (Agave fourcroydes), native to the Yucatán Peninsula in South East Mexico. It has been cultivated there by the Mayans since pre-Columbian times. They called it ki and highly valued its strong fibres for a wide variety of uses.
During the 19th century its production was industrialised in the numerous Haciendas in North West Yucatán and many important products of the time such as ropes, rigging, rugs and sacks made from henequén were shipped all over the world.
With the birth of synthetic fibres and changes in industrial usage, the production of henequen fell into decline.
But we are fortunate that part of today’s production is handmade into beautiful crafts and accessories. In the skilful hands of Mayan artists it is transformed into exquisite bags, baskets, and accessories.