One of the most popular traditional Mexican textiles is the Tenango. The Otomí people crafted these beautiful, embroidered pieces using multicolored threads to depict the flora and fauna of the region. 

It’s believed that embroidery is a relatively recent invention-and it happened almost by chance-but it forms part of the cultural identity of the area's inhabitants today. Their beauty has made them famous both inside and outside of Mexico; however, this fame has had some negative effects on them. Continue reading our blog to learn more about this beautiful textile that speaks so much about tradition and culture.


 Tenango textiles

What are Tenangos?

A Tenango is a style of embroidery from the Sierra Otomí-Tepehua region north of Mexico City. Colorful patterns are often carried out by a variety of flowers and animals in an almost fantastical manner.

Tenango artisans also include "illustrators" who trace the designs on the blanket fabric. Each cartoonist has his or her own style, and their designs are often influenced by the experiences of the community. In addition to natural motifs, we can also find designs related to migration, planting corn, or celebrations such as Day of the Dead.



The History of the Tenangos 

In the 1960s, the municipality of Tenango de Doria in Hidalgo was seriously affected by a drought. Being a community dependent on agriculture, the local economy was interrupted, and its inhabitants had to look for new work alternatives.

One of those people was Josefina José Tavera. Originally from the town of San Nicolás, José Tavera was in a difficult economic situation, since she was a single mother and needed a livelihood to support her daughters. One day, while he was in the market, he found a piece of blanket and took it home. In it, she drew designs inspired by the area's wildlife—such as deer, rabbits, birds, fish, and foxes—and embroidered them with colored threads. His mother, Guadalupe Talavera Cristóbal, took the finished piece to the town of Pahuatlán, where a local resident bought it. Delighted by their quality, the man took the embroidery to Mexico City, and on his return ordered more of them.

To meet this new demand, several women in the area began to learn the embroidery technique. It was agreed that the new design would be known by the name of Tenango; that way, their buyers would know the origin of the pieces. Although the artisans were dedicated to making napkins and tablecloths at first, they eventually began to decorate other types of products, from pillowcases to dresses and bookmarks.


Carlota hand bags


Introducing our Mexican Handbags

Inspired by the beautiful Otomí designs, these handbags are part of a limited edition! Handmade by local artisans of the state of Jalisco and decorated with traditional Mexican folkloric motifs. Each of the designs are inspired by a specific and representative element of our culture. Through this piece of fine craftsmanship, the Crabtree family acknowledges and honors Grandmother Carlota for instilling in her descendants the love for their homeland, exalting it through art and beauty. We hope you enjoy this piece that symbolizes the wonders of Mexico! Click here to view this beautiful collection.

Tell us what you think about this beautiful story we shared with you about Otomí inspired embroidery called Tenangos. Don't forget to share with friends & family! 

Want to receive more blogs about Mexico's culture and history? Join our email/text list here and get 10% off your first order. 



Older Post Newer Post

  • Gwyn on

    I have always admired the Tenangos embroidered Table Cloths and enjoyed learning the History! Thank you!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published