Ayate and Ixtle Products and the Native Otomi People Who Make Them
by Greg Rutkowski
What is Ayate & Ixtle Fiber?
If you have ever been to Mexico, you may have seen beautiful textile products made from Ayate or Ixtle.
Ayate and Ixtle are both plant fibers made from agave leaves called pencas.
Ayate and ixtle are used for a number of woven and spun products like; rope, washcloths, handbags, and more.
These products are great for people who want to buy handmade organic products that are healthy for the environment and your body.
The Otomi people have been making products from them for centuries.
The Otomis are an indigenous group who live in central Mexico, and their mythology and embroidery is famous all over the world.
They have a rich history and culture worth exploring.
In this blog post, we will talk about Ayate and Ixtle, and the Otomi people who make these beautiful products by hand.
How to Pronounce Ayate?
Ayate is pronounced "ah-yah-tay."
How is Ayate Fiber Made?
Making ayate is a labor-intensive process and the steps are as follows;
- The agave leaves are first cut from the agave pina with a coa de jima.
- Then the agave leaves are roasted over an open fiber to soften the fibers inside of the agave leaves
- The leaves are then pounded with a wooden mallet on a rock to separate the fibers.
- Fibers are then extracted on a wooden plank with a wooden scraper called a tallador.
- The agave fiber is then washed with a light soap for three days.
- After soaking the fiber comes out white and is hung to air dry.
- When it is dried, the ayate fibers are combed and then spun.
- Once spun, the ayate is now ready to be used to make woven products.
What Products Are Made from Ayate?
There are many creative products that are made from ayate fiber. Here are some of them.
Ayate Washcloths, Ayate Loofahs, Ayate Sponges, and Ayate Exfoliators.
Handmade ayate products for the kitchen and bath are intricately woven to make unique organic products.
They are great exfoliators, are durable, and have antimicrobial properties to them.
They are great for the shower and washing dishes.
Click here to shop ayate washcloths, ayate loofahs, and more.
What is the Difference Between Ayate and Ixtle?
Ixtle is ayate, but the fiber is spun in a different manner to be stronger and more durable than ayate.
What are uses for Ixtle?
Ixtle Cowboy Lasso Rope
Who are the Otomi People?
The Otomi people are a living indigenous population that are native to Mexico.
They are the 5th largest indigenous population in Mexico today.
The name Otomi is known today because of the Spanish first learning it from the Nahuatl.
It is important to note that this is not what the Otomi people call themselves. They have several names like; ñätho, hñähñu, ñäñho, and ñ'yühü.
Where do the Otomi People Live?
The Otomi population is scattered about in territories within central Mexico.
They live in Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Michoacán, and Tlaxcala.
What Language do the Otomi People Speak?
The Otomi people speak Otomi, a language that is indigenous to Mexico.
Otomi is spoken by about 600,000 people in Mexico, and there are many different dialects of the language.
Otomi is a minority language in Mexico, and it is considered to be endangered.
What is Otomi Embroidery?
Otomi embroidery is a form of textile art that is unique to the Otomi people.
It is characterized by its intricate designs and beautiful colors.
Many hours of hard work go into making; beautiful embroidered dresses, table runners, wall art, jewelry, and more.
Otomi embroidery is often used to tell stories from the Otomi culture, and is considered to be some of the best in the world.
Lastly, we cannot for get about the famous Otomi doll.
These handmade dolls are iconic around Mexico, particularly is Guanajuato and Queretaro.
Mexicans and tourist alike are completely in love with this doll and they can be found pretty much anywhere in Mexico.
Who is the Otomi Warrior?
The Otomi people are a proud and fierce people who have a long history of military service.
One of the most famous Otomi warriors was Tlacaelel.
Tlacaelel was a powerful and influential leader who helped shape the Otomi people into the warriors they were known to be.
Tlacaelel is best known for his role in the Battle of Tenochtitlan.
The Otomi people continue to celebrate their warrior heritage to this day.
What is the Otomi Mythology?
Otomi mythology is rich and varied, and tells the story of the creation of the world and the first people who lived in it.
There are many different myths that make up Otomi mythology, and each one tells a unique story about the people and their culture.
Some of the most famous Otomi myths include The Origin of Ayate, The Sun and Moon, and The Origin of Corn.
The Origin of Ayate tells the story of how the ayate was created by the gods, and how it came to be used by the Otomi people.
The Sun and Moon tells the story of how the sun and moon were created, and how they came to be used by the Otomi people.
The Origin of Corn tells the story of how corn was created by the gods, and how it came to be used by the Otomi people.
If you are interested in supporting the Otomi people and in ayate products please click here.
Greg Rutkowski, President
Greg is a lover of agave spirits, handicrafts, and barware. In 2020 he married all of his loves and created a business bringing amazing pieces from all over Mexico to the United States. Learn more here.