Mixe blouse and the value of the intangible

Mixe blouse and the value of the intangible

After the controversy over plagiarism by designer Isabel Marat blouse Mixe village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepe...

After the controversy over plagiarism by designer Isabel Marat blouse Mixe village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico is timely to reflect on the protection that the native people about their cultural heritage.

What began a few months ago with the acusación plagiarism by French designer Isabel Marat to the Mixe community of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, specifically traditional blouse Xaamïxuy, has become a veritable flood of information, allegations and opinions about; this after recently rekindled controversy Following the disclosure in various media designer had pantentado design and blouse itself, and thus, the Mixe community would have to pay to continue making these garments they have done for centuries ago.

The truth is that the information It has been quite confusing, in which even accused the company, also French, Antiquité Vatic patent, and depending on the medium, sometimes Isabel Marat or both. It was given to start a petition on Change.org calling ‘What is Oaxaca, Oaxaca remains in’, which, as of this writing has 59.420 signatures. These comings and goings of information, and so far, the patent has not been presented to the Mixe community of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec. Also recently la Marat declared itself not to have made any kind of patent on the bodice and the designs and patterns that distinguish it.

Legislation, copyrights and patents

Intangible is something that can not be touched. In this case it refers to the UNESCO recognized as intangible cultural heritage and defined as living expressions that are transmitted over generations through collective and oral traditions of a community. The wealth and fragility of this heritage is recognized by UNESCO itself when it states that:

While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of the growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps promote dialogue between cultures and respect for other ways of life.

The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth knowledge and techniques passed down from generation to generation.

The same was found in the statement made by community leaders of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec last June, when released, a internationally, that designer had made patterns and designs of traditional blouse Mixe Etoile collection for Spring-Summer 2015. At that time the mayor of the community, Erasmo Hernandez Gonzalez said:

The blouse Tlahuitoltepec is an element that makes artisanal manufacturing a socioeconomic activity because their production is for self-sustenance, because it preserves tradition, but mostly because materializes bioculturalmente because Tlahuitoltepec is a living identity, because it is not past, because it is not museum, because it is not folckore.

Declaración United Nations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples stated in Article 31 empower the people Indians to develop their cultural heritage, including traditional medicine, plants and animals, as well as sports and games, design and visual arts. It clarifies that:

They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions


The state is credited as such joint work with indigenous peoples to preserve their cultural heritage, and it is just at this point that many pronouncements about the Mixe blouse pointing up the government as lacking and absent in the protection of the culture of indigenous peoples in general and particularly in Tlahuitoltepec.

While this may be true, the reflection should go much further. For first thing that points to is a lack of “copyright” and protection of intellectual property on the designs and products Tlahuitoltepec community and why the French designer or fashion company you mentioned have patented the design of the Mixe blouse, thus affecting the community that, in any case, would have to pay for making their own designs. And, while government support is necessary, it is understood that intangible cultural heritage is not works in the same way it does any product.

You need to understand the nature of the pledge, the people, designs and their worldview

That is, note that the Mixe blouse only be safe from plagiarism and protected under a copyright regime is tantamount to not understand the cultural value of the garment and collective way in which this has been prepared for several centuries. Come on, it’s like not to understand the nature, the people, designs and their worldview. So says a very interesting way the article Dr. Diana Negrín da Silva, ‘ Indian everyone wants: Consumption of what ‘Huichol’ after the battle for Wirikuta ‘when he says: “The fundamental concern about the protection of cultural heritage and indigenous eco is that private property becomes governed by concepts legality also bring paradigms instituted from Western conceptions. “

So, out to the Mixe blouse field of patents, copyright, his background individually and not collectively, as well as outside the cultural aspects of indigenous communities is home, put it at a disadvantage; Likewise the entire community of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec would have to work in regimes that are foreign and disadvantageous. About modern systems of intellectual property, Bellagio Declaration 1993 as indicated from entoces these systems underestimate the intellectual property community, and noted the urgency of developing those procedures in which leaves out the community and violates the intangibles.

Finally, the designer Isabel Marat, declaró since June this year, when he started the dispute, which not about plagiarism and itself an inspiration in blouses mixes and it was not his intention to appropriate the authorship of the designs. Yes, again the thin line between inspiration and plagiarism. Remember insensitivity other designers inspired designs, patterns, and color ranges indigenous peoples own and use for their collections, why get lucrative earnings and significant recognition for his work ;. All this in an environment that dexcontextualiza these intangibles and forget the worldview they contain, the sacred, the ritual, and, above all, the process of collective identity of these peoples


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Bibliography ►
Phoneia.com (November 21, 2015). Mixe blouse and the value of the intangible. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/mixe-blouse-and-the-value-of-the-intangible/

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