Zapotec Rugs & Pillows



For over two decades Escalante Rugs has worked with the traditional Zapotec weavers of Oaxaca, Mexico to provide for them a seamless outlet to bring their dynamic weavings to a grateful world. Over that time, strong relationships – and friendships – have been forged as Escalante Rugs works alongside the Native American weavers to create a unique mohair blended wool and to continually adapt color palettes and design combinations to best meet the ever-changing world of interior design and decorating.
The expertise and commitment of owner Dean Bulolo represents the second generation of Escalante Rugs dedicated to honoring the history and the continuing culture of these gifted weavers. The 100% churro wool rugs are splendid and the unique Escalante Rugs churro/mohair blend makes for extra long-lasting, heirloom quality rugs (mohair being the second strongest natural fiber, behind the mane hair of a horse). The commitment of Escalante Rugs to meeting clients’ needs is reflected not only in the quality of the selection offered at Turquoise Tortoise Gallery but in the unique process of color selection and design flexibility of Escalante Rugs that allows clients to work through the gallery to customize and add personal touches to their own hand-woven rug.

The Zapotec Rug-Weaving Culture

The Zapotec Indians of Teotitlan del Valle, a small village nestled in the Oaxaca Valley in the foothills of the Sierra Madres of Mexico, are known locally as the “people of the clouds.” And their weaving traditions, which have been part of their culture for thousands of years, are alive and well today. 

The Zapotecs wove their textiles from cotton and other fibers until the mid seventeenth century when Dominican friars introduced the European upright loom and sheep to the New World. The following centuries confirmed the reputation of the Zapotecs as premiere weavers of the “Americas.” Despite recent cultural changes made by other native groups in Mexico, the weaving traditions of the Zapotecs and the impeccable level of craftsmanship evident in their work remain unchanged. 

Weaving is intimately tied to the family unit of the Zapotec; everyone in the family participates in the process. Traditionally, it is the Zapotec women who prepare the dyes, card wool from the sheep they raise and dye the wool; it is the Zapotec men who are traditionally the designers and weavers.  From a young age children learn to spin yarn and make small decorative hangings and by their teenaged years are supervised in learning the craft in earnest. Nearly everyone in a weaving family is involved in some aspect of the tradition by tending sheep, building looms or spinning yarn.  

Many of their geometric designs are found on the Mayan Ruins throughout Southern Mexico and Central America. Other designs include Southwestern and Western motifs, including traditional patterns woven by all the North American Indians, including the Hopi and the Navajo.

It is the Zapotec’s master-quality weaving, and its important link to their family unit, that has directly led to the sustained traditions and the flourishing culture that continues for Oaxaca’s Zapotec people today.

Sizes Available
16 x 40 small table runners
16 x 60 medium table runners
16 x 78 large table runners
2’ x 3’ rugs
2.5’ x 5’ rugs
4’ x 6’ & larger rugs