Series TitleMexican People
Alfredo Zalce (Mexican, 1908 – 2003)
DimensionsSheet : 14 x 17 in. (35.56 x 43.18 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelHenequen is a type of agave, the leaves of which can be shredded to produce tough fibers for making ropes, mats and bags. Henequen production is concentrated in Yucatan region of Mexico. In pre- Hispanic and Colonial times, henequen fiber was made by hand in limited quantities. During the 19th century, however, machines were invented to process henequen and the volume of production increased exponentially. By 1915, Mexico was producing more than one million bales of henequen annually and the profits from henequen exports transformed Yucatan into the wealthiest state in Mexico. Demand for henequen has declined since the end of World War Two but it remains an important agricultural industry in Mexico.