Our Language – Zapotec is an Oto-manguean language, there are obout 60 different Zapotecan languages each of which is difficult for us to understand and they differ in the number of contrasting tones they have.Zapotec languages and dialects fall into four broad geographic divisions: Zapoteco de la sierra norte (Northern Zapotec), Valley Zapotec, Zapoteco de la sierra sur ( Southern Zapotec), and Isthums Zapotec. In my home town of teotitlan del valle, Zapotec remains our primary spoken language in my family. Gùl tàa – Come in Tràli – Loom Dùu – Yarn Xtiuzù – Thank you Làadi gìchi – Wool rug Shìli – Sheep.
Casa Gunginn – In 1930’s the Martinez family developed a unique style in the art of weaving zapotec rugs. A few years later, my father (Herminio Martinez) started his own company called Casa Gunginn. Gunginn is a root discovered by my family in the high sierra mountains of Teotitlan which is a town in the state of Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. This root gives us a beautiful blue that is used to dye our yarn. My father (Herminio) began to create stunning handmade wool rugs, bringing his traditional concepts into reality by using contemporary and modern designs.
Awards – In 1979 my father took 1st place in the art expo in Mexico city when he wove Picasso’s Guernica in a 6 x 12 ft zapotec rug. Earlier that year he took a trip into the US introducing his original zapotec rugs in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado becoming well known for his unique style, colors and designs.
About Martz Imports – After more than 65 years of making and selling rugs to the US, EUROPE and other countries, Martz Imports is now located in Santa Fe New Mexico. Martz Imports opened it’s doors to the tourists and locals in 2012, and is still providing our historial designs and unique traditional style of contemporary, modern designs. We also still make special custom orders to match any interior of your home. We proudly use our natural dyes like: Indigo, Cochineal, Pomogranate, Pecan’s and Walnut Husks, Marygolds, Alfalfas, Gunginn and many more.
Our Weavers – My family and I have developed new ways of weaving since we were kids. Years later our family kept gaining in and learning new ways of convening and dyeing colors, creating beautiful art and much more, taking the Zapotec rugs to a next level in generations. Today, we have more than 30 male and female artisans weaving and working specifically for CASA GUNGINN and MARTZ IMPORTS. Our weavers use only wools carefully chosen from the merino sheep for their quality. Our own dye-maker mixes the colors by hand in age-old manner bringing you the best quality of a 100% wool hand made rug.
Teotitlan Del Valle – Teotitlan is a town in the foothills of the northern sierra Juarez mountains, at an elevation of approximately 5,500 feet It has a population of 5,000. It was one of the first villages founded in the Zapotec in the área in 1465. It lays at the base of ¨El Picacho¨ mountain, ¨Giè Bètz¨, which is translated in our language, ¨Stone Brother¨(Ngul Bètz). In the Nàhuatl language of the Aztecs, Teotitlan Del Valle is translated ¨Place of the gods¨, ¨Shà guiee¨ in our language, means ¨at the foot of the hill¨. Our community owns a dam and reservoir and a small reserve of approximately 100,000 acres of sylvan mountain forest and meadow. We still retain our Zapotec culture and language.
The Zapotecs – The Zapotecs created one of world’s autochthonous civilizations, to set beside that of the Aztec and the Maya in its achievements. At its peak 1,500 years ago, the Zapotec capital of Monte Alban- with its magnificent temples, tombs, ball-courts, and hieroglyphic inscriptions dominated a society of over 100,000 people, with far-flung territorial outposts. The Mixtecs from the north, replaced the Zapotecs at Monte Alban and then later at Mitla. Though the Zapotecs captured Tehuantepec from the zoquean and Huavean Indians of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, by the middle of the 15th century both the Zapotecs and Mixtecs were struggling to keep the Aztecs from gaining control of the trade routes to Chiapas and Guatemala. The last battle between the Aztecs and the Zapotecs occurred between 1497 and 1502, under the Aztec rules. In 1521 At the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards came and introduced a foot loom design and a sheep to the zapotec people near Monte Alban, developing amazing skills in the art of weaving until today.