The missing links.Posted: August 11, 2010
So how did Huaraches evolve? And what about all the pre-hispanic footwear we see illustrated in museums, how are huaraches related to those decorated sandals with the heel pieces?
Why are there no physical examples of the pre-hispanic footwear with the heel piece in any Mexican museum? After all we know that Moctezuma II the Aztec Emperor had a ceremonial pair with a sole of gold, that wouldn’t have decomposed, so where is it?
I believe that the Spanish conquistadors did an effective job at eliminating all symbols of Aztec hierarchy and authority, this included the footwear that had different symbolic designs on the heel to represent the status, rank and profession of the wearer. For example warriors would often have the heel made from leopard skin. The Pata de Gallo, was the sandal of the peasants and workforce and as it lacked any symbolism was spared.
So how did we get from the Pata de Gallo
to the Pachuco?
I think this is one of the missing links.
I found this old photo in a book of Huichol culture at Tepic city library and replicated the design as best as I could with my Pata de Gallo huaraches.
The Pata de Gallo as I explained in my earlier post is made using a long strip of leather. The strip is knotted and passed through a hole between big toe and second toe. Over time this knot which is always in direct contact with the ground will wear down and break, so a new knot is tied and every time this happens. Consequently the strip of leather shortens by an inch or two every so often. To accommodate such a long strip of leather, it is wrapped many times around the leg. I think that at some point someone decided to weave the leather strip into a new design instead of wrapping it.
Thats when I believe at least one tradition of weaving huaraches began.