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Ñanduti: The Heart of Paraguay’s Costumes (In Spanish)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Spanish, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

I would say to those people who are watching me, to come to Paraguay, to see all the nice things we have here in Paraguay.

“Maiteípa,” gracious viewers, welcome to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. “Maiteípa” means “greetings” in Guaraní, one of the two official languages of the Republic of Paraguay. This magnificent country is known for its splendid nature, abundant water resources and time-honored indigenous culture. In today’s program, we will have a glimpse at its dazzling traditional clothing, featuring the world-famous ñanduti lace.

This is the typical dress of women in Paraguay, which consists of a ñanduti skirt, the Typoi that is Ao po`i, the sleeves made also in ñanduti. Other than that, it is accompanied with a rosary of gold, earrings, and the hair can be in a bun or a braid, which is accompanied by a golden ornamental comb and a flower.

The central characteristic of ethnic Paraguayan costumes is ñanduti. “Ñandu” is spider in Guaraní and “ti” is the fabric. The ñanduti fabric is made on a frame with cotton yarn, circular in shape, as we see in this item. The ñanduti is used for decoration, clothing, as a table centerpiece, too.

The technique of making ñandutí has been passed from mothers to daughters for generations, through traditional family lineages.

My village is called Itauá, where the ñandutí fabric is woven.

I have been a ñandutí weaver since childhood and have learned exclusively from my [previous] generations, from my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my mother. My family, all the family, we are a very large family and make our living from it and teach it to our families.

There is a beautiful folktale about the origin of ñandutí.

Ñandutí comes from our ancestors, that’s the story I know and my grandmothers tell me - that an Indian on his horse went galloping in the countryside where there was an aromatic plant, and on that aromatic plant was a spider weaving fabric. And he went to pluck the spider web that was woven to give to his beloved who is called Samimbí the Indian, and his hand tore it. And he was very sorry because he wanted to give his Sambimbí the very beautiful things that the spider was making.

The Indian flew back, galloping back on his horse and told his mother he wanted to give his Sambimbí what he had seen the spider weaving. And the mother said not to worry that she would go the next day to see right where the spider was weaving. His mother promised to weave a chiripá for him out of her white hair and her black hair in the same way as the spider. She went to look and she devised the idea for the ñandutí weaving.

And then the mother wove the chiripá for him, and gave it to her son and took it to Sambimbí. The ñandutí work displayed is truly exquisite. Now if I you allow me here, come in those of you who are visiting, I will spread out a very special tablecloth. That’s my work.

The most beautiful colors we have are the multicolors, which are like our country, the tropical. They are all beautiful colors and different designs. This is a design that I am giving away and showing, of the beauty I have in my work. And the most beautiful thing is the color, it is well blended. It is not that we derive it from a book or anything: there is no book, but the color we do it to taste, we blend it and we have a very nice thread here in Paraguay, because the color in cotton is a firm color; it does not lose color. You wash it, starch it, iron it, because it is not plastic; it is 100% cotton.

Here is a beautiful tupoy - traditionally a very lovely piece for the dancers, which is done with the folkloric ballet dancing ... And here I have a ñandutí outfit, the ñandutí outfit is very nice also for people who dance. Everything can be done with the work and this is also appliqué because it is applied. After the cloth, there are many wonderful things, including small pieces there for a set of towels, a bedside table, where you can put a ñandutí cloth on it. That is very beautiful.

Here you have some nice shirts that are also my work too. I want to show something more important for youth, for ladies, which is very useful for the beach, for being comfortable at home. These are very nice pieces.

In my life, I’ve done baptism gowns, wedding dress, quinceañera gowns of all kinds, and special tablecloths are always used for weddings, birthdays, for great artists, that know me and have bought.

Ñanduti is so deep-rooted in the Paraguayan culture that there is a theatrical play called “Ñanduti Weaver” depicting a historical story.

“Ñanduti Weaver” is an opera, written in 1900, but deals with recent history. It is the time of Don Carlos Antonio Lopez, that would be more or less in 1800, so the wardrobe at that time was very ostentatious, a lot of frills, a lot of ruffles.

Each of the dresses has a way of representing a feature of every person, or their personality. We see for example in the garment I use for Pepe and Lola, which is this green one with embroidery which has lace, very much detail, bows, so for a super-ostentatious person, or you might say for someone who wants attention, or a person who is not shy at all, full of ruffles, lace, and is a rather energetic, jocular personality.

The costumes were what helped them the most, and they could take on the character as their own. In theater as well as in real life, the choice of the design of traditional Paraguayan costumes reflects the wearer’s social status.

This is the suit that was used in the second act of Pepe and Lola, who are twins. This is the home one, the day dress, which would be for the weaver Ñanduti, which is fully embroidered, which is what she normally used as a party dress. Then we have the one behind, the lilac one, the beige one which are the widow’s, which are colors that fall within the color range of gray or lilac, mostly used by those who were widowed at that time, or else the black dresses, which also are all generally the same line, that are very ostentatious, frilly with bows, with decorations, accessories such as hats, gloves, fans, wide-brimmed hats, full of ruffles in general.

Then we have the bride’s dress, that is this color, so it’s more completely angelical, rosy but with more elaborate embroidery, ruffles as well.

Thread by thread, the exquisite lacework and fabrics carry the love and pursuit of beauty of the weavers. Over the centuries, it has developed into a cherished cultural heritage for which the artisans take great pride.

Imagine the very impressive and broad scope of craftsmanship involved. The work we realize is very valued within the Paraguayan culture, because we are also trying to show people that the work can be done, and done well.

And the fabric is very favorable ñandutí for people. I raised 5 children and 11 grandchildren and 9 orphaned siblings who had to work with my ñandutí work. I'm just a very independent woman concerning my work and am very proud of my work, because I know only in Paraguay, there is this kind of work. In the world there is no other place which does ñandutí.

And I thank the Lord because I am a woman that loves my work a lot. I also appreciate people giving me encouragement, telling me that it is very nice that it should not be lost, one’s life style of work.

It has been a joy to be introduced to the delightful ñanduti of Paraguay. May the illustrious Paraguayan traditions shine through the fabulous products the people so caringly create.

Serene viewers, thank you for joining us in today’s episode of A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television.

Up next is Vegetarianism, The Noble Way of Living, after Noteworthy News. May the voice of Heaven reverberate in your gentle heart.
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