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First Day of the Coffee Season, Las Nubes Estate

Artist/Maker: Eadweard Muybridge (England, 1830-1904)

Date: 1875
Medium: albumen print
Sheet: 5 3/8 x 9 1/8 in. (13.7 x 23.2 cm)
Classification: Art Works
Credit Line: Gift of The Southeast Banking Corporation Foundation
Object number: 86.0015
DescriptionNineteenth century photographer Eadward Muybridge recorded many aspects of Guatemalan Maya life during his six months in the country in 1875, but none captured his attention as much as coffee cultivation. Only five years before the visit of Muybridge, coffee surpassed cochineal as the most important export of Guatemala, a status it still enjoys today. Plantations and cultivation were expanding at the end of the 19th century, and transformed the way of life of many people, especially the Maya women who came to work picking coffee beans. These women lived together on the plantation during the harvest, and returned home to their villages when it finished. The same arrangement exists today. The photograph depicts the first day of the coffee season. A variety of different forms of dress can be seen, including many cortes, or skirts, and huipiles, or blouses.
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