Timeless Tradition of Otomi Tenango

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 by Elena Damy

tenango elena damy event design one and only palmilla

We love the bright, cheerful storytelling patterns of tenango textiles and how they can bring the rich, artistic history of Mexican culture to weddings and events.

For those of you who don’t know, tenangos are traditional Mexican embroidered fabrics created by the Otomí Indians from Tenango, Hidalgo. With saturated colors, graphic floral and animal patterns, and bold use of positive and negative space, contemporary tenangos present a striking example of modern ingenuity merged with ancient tradition.

tenango elena damy event design one and only palmilla los cabos weddings

As you can see, tenango fabrics can be incorporated into any setting, whether as table cloths, pillows, upholstered furniture, lamp shades, napkins, table runners, or blankets. And while the original patterns are multi-colored, the more modern textiles are focused on one color, or two at the very most. Many characters or patterns common to tenangos are believed to be inspired by the ancient wall paintings found in nearby caves. (Tenango literally means “stone neighborhood.”) There are also similarities between tenango embroidered patterns—such as the depiction of plants, animals and natural forces—and the designs found in the cut-bark paper craft known as amate, practiced by Otomí shamans for thousands of years. Over time, the primitively rendered figures, colors and shapes of tenangos have evolved. Today, the colors are more varied and the subject matter more diverse, as tenangos continue to narrate the history and everyday life of the artisans who create them.

tenango elena damy los cabos event design

As event designers who just happen to be Mexican, we appreciate how tenangos can evoke a spirit of magical realism, merging the real and the mythical. There’s something so beautiful in these simple works of art. We know exactly why our destination wedding clients enjoy designing their parties with tenangos: as a thematic nod to the stunning location but also as a tribute to Mexican heritage.

tenango collage 1 elena damy

{Modern green Tenango chair and living room setting via Coco Kelly}

{Green chair and colorful living room images via Coco Kelly}

3 Responses to “Timeless Tradition of Otomi Tenango”

  1. sonia osorio

    hola yo bordo los manteles que tienes en tus fotos tenangos por si alguna vez necesitas estoy para servirte espero y sea de tu interes

    • sonia osorio

      hola yo bordo tenangos por si te interesa o necesitas mas en mi correo me puedes contactar

      • Megan


        Estoy interesado en Tenangos. ¡Por favor envíame un correo electrónico! ¡Gracias!


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