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History of Hammocks

The hammock, whose name in Haitian, hamac, means tree, was baptized by the conquerors with that name for having found in the Antilles the first hammocks woven with filaments of tree bark. Later, the fiber of several agaves was used for its preparation. The hammock consisted of a net made of thick and wide clear threads, hanging in the air between two tree trunks like a hanging bag, to lie down to rest and to rock back and forth between its meshes.

Not being able to withstand the intense heat of the Yucatan, especially in summer, the Hispanic residents decided to turn that soft hammock in Santo Domingo into a bed. And hence its use spread so quickly, that after a few years of colonial rule, even the poorest and most miserable Indians abandoned their beds of sticks, their esparto mats and their wefts of ropes, to rest among the soft and cool network of comfortable hammocks.

And then the procedure in its preparation began to be perfected. The first hammocks were almost similar to a fishing net and their openings were very wide between knot and knot. It was only in Yucatan when, urged on by the settler due to the need for improvement, he began to invent new fabrics or meshes until he found the one that lasts to date and consists of intertwined threads that are stretched or tightened at will.

The hammock is woven on a frame consisting of two long wooden sticks, cylindrical and perpendicular, about five centimeters thick and about two meters long, placed parallel to each other, at a distance of one and a half or two meters. meters, depending on the size you want to give the hammock. These sticks are fitted on strong wooden bases and are joined together by two horizontal stringers that penetrate into slots made in the masts, securing them with wedges; and bringing them closer or withdrawing them, the size of the hammock is adjusted.

The work begins by surrounding the two vertical sticks of the frame in the form of a skein with the thread that is going to be used for the fabric. Since there is enough entangled yarn, a needle or shuttle made of strong wood or bone is taken, in the shape of a boat, pierced in the center and in which the yarn has previously been wound, and the weaver begins to intersect it with the threads. of the warp and little by little the characteristic mesh weft is formed. Before starting to weave the weft, an edge is woven in an original way, which is what constitutes the edge of the hammock.

Once the hammock is finished weaving with everything and its edges, the arms are put on it, which consist of a series of threads hooked on the end of the woven band, each one being a meter and a quarter long; and that are knotted at the ends, making a kind of pear-shaped ring with the same thread, through which the loops pass, which are two well-corked ropes with knuckles or tassels at their ends, which are used to tie and stretch the hammocks already between two tree trunks, between two palm trees in seaports, or in hooks or hammocks (in Mayan pol-kan, snake head).

Hammocks are made from rope or thread, fine henequen thread, hemp, canvas, canvas and row, which is the finest hammock that is woven in Yucatan. It is woven with a finely corked cotton or linen thread, it is of various colors that are arbitrarily combined in bands with white, giving beautiful examples nuanced on a whim.


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