How Temoaya Rugs Are Changing the Game in Handicrafts

Discover the rich history and exquisite craftsmanship behind Temoaya rugs, a distinctive feature of Mexican handicrafts. Handmade using the Persian technique with 100% virgin wool and natural dyes, each rug takes weeks to months to complete.

How Temoaya Rugs Are Changing the Game in Handicrafts
Vibrant colors and intricate designs are hallmarks of Temoaya rugs, created by adapting traditional Otomí designs.

Mexican craftsmanship has a rich history and has produced some of the world's most iconic artifacts. One such marvel is the hand-knotted Temoaya rug, which has gained global recognition for its exquisite designs and remarkable quality. In this article, we will delve into the history, production, and significance of Temoaya rugs.

The History of Temoaya Rugs

The Otomí people of Temoaya, a small village in the state of Mexico, have a long history of weaving textiles. The Otomí are known for their intricate embroidery and weaving skills, which are often passed down through generations. However, it was not until 1969 that the industry of hand-knotted rugs emerged, thanks to Ernesto Fernández Hurtado's initiative.

Ernesto Fernández Hurtado, the general director of Banco de México, established a pilot center for the study and experimental production of hand-knotted rugs in Temoaya. The goal was to adapt traditional designs and techniques to create high-quality rugs that could compete with international brands. The pilot center proved successful, and the production of Temoaya rugs began to flourish.

The Production Process

The production process of Temoaya rugs is a long and intricate one. Each rug is handmade, and the Persian technique is applied with an approximate density of 140,000 knots that form each square meter. The base of the rug, known as the weft and warp, is made entirely of cotton, while the pile is made of 100% virgin wool.

The artisans use a variety of tools, including a loom, a comb, and scissors, to create intricate designs. The process begins with the creation of a design, which is then translated into a graph. The graph is used to create a template that is placed on the loom. The weft threads are then inserted into the warp threads, row by row, to create the foundation of the rug.

Once the foundation is complete, the artisans begin knotting the wool threads onto the warp threads. The knots are tied in a specific pattern, which is determined by the design of the rug. As the knots are tied, they create a pile that gives the rug its unique texture and appearance.

The entire process of making a Temoaya rug is done by hand, and each rug can take several weeks to several months to complete, depending on its size and complexity. For example, a rug measuring 60 × 90 centimeters can take 15 to 20 days to complete, while a rug measuring 90 × 1.20 meters can take up to a month and a half.

Designs and Variations

Temoaya rugs are known for their beautiful designs and vibrant colors. There are about twenty different designs available, each with more than 250 variations in color and size. Some of the popular designs include geometric patterns, floral designs, and animal motifs.

The colors used in Temoaya rugs are also noteworthy. The artisans use natural dyes made from plants, insects, and minerals to create a range of colors. The colors range from bright and bold to muted and earthy, and each rug has its unique color palette.

Significance of Temoaya Rugs

Temoaya rugs are more than just beautiful works of art. They are also significant cultural artifacts that represent Mexico's rich history and heritage. The intricate designs and patterns found in Temoaya rugs are inspired by traditional Otomí art and symbolism, which have been passed down through generations.

The production of Temoaya rugs has also had a significant impact on the community. The industry has created jobs for many artisans and has helped preserve traditional weaving techniques. It has also brought recognition to the Otomí community and has given them a platform to showcase their unique skills and creativity on a global scale. Additionally, the success of Temoaya rugs has contributed to the growth of the Mexican handicraft industry and has helped promote the country's culture and traditions.

Temoaya rugs have gained worldwide recognition for their quality and beauty. They have been featured in exhibitions and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Many renowned interior designers and architects also use Temoaya rugs to add a touch of Mexican charm and elegance to their projects.


Temoaya rugs are a testament to Mexico's rich cultural heritage and the incredible skills of its artisans. The intricate designs, vibrant colors, and exceptional quality of these rugs have earned them a well-deserved place in the global handicraft industry. They are not just beautiful works of art but also represent the dedication, passion, and creativity of the Otomí people of Temoaya.

The production of Temoaya rugs is a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, but it is steeped in tradition and history. Each rug is a masterpiece, created by skilled artisans who have dedicated their lives to the preservation of traditional weaving techniques.

Temoaya rugs are a must-have for anyone who appreciates fine craftsmanship and exquisite design. They are not just decorative items but are also significant cultural artifacts that represent Mexico's rich history and heritage. Owning a Temoaya rug is like owning a piece of Mexican history and culture that can be passed down from generation to generation.

In-Text Citation: Artesanía Mexiquense, La Magia De Nuestra Gente. 1st ed., Mexico, Gobierno del Estado de México, 2006.