China Poblana

Through July 23, 2023

The Autry: Norman F. Sprague, Jr. Gallery

About the Exhibition

The Story of China Poblana explores how clothing is part of imagining communities and celebrating traditions, exploring the imaginative power of the Mexican and Mexican American dress style known as china poblana.  

The name-- China (“female servant”) and Poblana (“of Puebla”) -- reflects the outfit’s origins in a combination of legends, Mexico’s Indigenous and colonial history of enslavement, revolutionary politics, and nation-building. Today, china poblana dress lives on in dance and musical celebrations of Mexican culture and in dresses created by Indigenous women past and present. The exhibition features historical examples and contemporary iterations of china poblana to reveal how a garment became a symbol of female Mexican identity on both sides of the border.