One of the most fascinating things we saw on our South American cruise during SMU’s 2016 Christmas break was the demonstration of the making of “Panama” hats, which actually originate in Ecuador. The intricacy and craftsmanship that go into the making of these hats is amazing. I’m pleased to have recorded onto film, and edited with Lightroom, this most beautiful work. Below is information from Wikipedia dated 1/2/17.
“the traditional Ecuadorian toquilla hat was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists on 6 December 2012. In 1904, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the construction site of the Panama Canal, and was photographed wearing a panama hat, which further increased the hats’ popularity. The best quality hats are known as Montecristis, after the town of Montecristi, where they are produced. The Montecristi Foundation has established a grading system based on a figure called the Montecristi Cuenta, calculated by measuring the horizontal and vertical rows of weave per inch. The rarest and most expensive panama hats are hand-woven with up to 3000 weaves per square inch. In February 2014, Simon Espinal, an Ecuadorian 47-year-old panama hat weaver considered to be among the best at his craft, set a world record by creating a panama hat with four thousand weaves per inch that took eight months to handcraft from beginning to end. According to popular lore, a “superfino” panama hat can hold water and, when rolled up, pass through a wedding ring. Although the panama hat continues to provide a livelihood for thousands of Ecuadorians, fewer than a dozen weavers capable of making the finest “Montecristi superfinos” remain. Production in Ecuador is dwindling, due to economic problems in Ecuador and competition from Chinese hat producers.”