Fiesta Dress: the China Poblana

China poblana


Mestiza/National symbol

Donated by Angeles López-Portillo de Stiteler

Blouse, 2016

Machine sewn white satin blouse with hand embroidery in synthetic silk thread in flora motifs around the neckline. 2018.9.a

Skirt, ca. 1970-1980

Machine made skirt of red flannel (castór), totally covered in hand sewn sequins and tiny beads with green satin fabric at the top and bottom. 2018.9.b

Rebozo de Bolita

Black cotton rebozo with macrame fringe at edges. 2018.9.c


Machine sewn green satin belt. 2018.9.d

The origins of the China Poblana, today one of Mexico´s national symbols, and her spangled costume are rooted in the country´s colonial past. The story goes that in the early 1600s an Indian noblewoman, Mirra, was kidnapped by Portuguese pirates, crossed the Pacific trade route between Spain and China (Nao de China) and was sold as a slave to the Sosa family from Puebla. Mirra continued to wear her Indian saris, adjust them over time to the local ways and influencing a style of dress that was popular throughout central Mexico through the middle of the 1800s. The costume exemplified the uniqueness of Mexican culture and included an open-necked white blouse accented with embroidery or beadwork, a red flannel skirt, called a castor, decorated with sequins, a rebozo, and strings of beads around the neck. In Mexico, the word ¨China¨ came to mean all people of Asian descent and while ¨Poblana¨ could mean that a person comes from Puebla, it also means a person who lives in a small town in the country.

mom as china poblana.jpg
mom as china poblana.jpg