Na Bolom Cultural Association
Handwoven and hand-embroidered fashion accessories in Mexico
Our mission is to achieve and carry on the vision of Frans Blom and Gertrude Duby Blom, and everyone here at the Na Bolom Cultural Association serves this noble cause.Na Bolom was purchased in 1960 by the Danish archaeologist, Frans Blom, who was one of the first to explore the great Maya city of Palenque. In the jungles of Chiapas, he met Gertrude Duby, the woman he would marry. She was a Swiss German journalist who was photographing the reclusive Lacandon Maya in the rain forests. She became their defender and an environmentalist who fought to preserve their home.
The house was a ruined monastery which they named Na Bolom, a play on the name Blom and bolom, "jaguar" in the Maya language. Frans Blom made his extraordinary personal library available to visitors at the home along with his collection of Maya artifacts and Trudi Blom's photographs. The couple dreamed that their home would become a center of education and research for those who stayed with them.
The home eventually became a small hotel, although there was always free lodging for the Lacandon who came into San Cristobal de las Casas.
Frans Blom died in 1963 but Gertrude Blom lived until 1993. Their desire to create a institution that would outlive them became a reality, and the Asociacion Cultural Na Bolom A.C. directs the project. A small hotel and restaurant receive visitors from around the world and the income they generate funds community projects in the jungle, including reforestation, support for artisans and public health. The center continues working to preserve the cultural and natural patrimony of Chiapas, especially that of the Lacandon people.
Some of the handicrafts they promote are textiles woven by hand on a traditional floor loom and meticulous hand-embroidery. The program offers seven stages of training, which include selecting materials and meeting the quality standards necessary for fair trade. The sale of these women's work benefits their personal finances as well as their social and community lives. We work to empower the artisans.
Our mission is to achieve and carry on the vision of Frans Blom and Gertrude Duby Blom, and everyone here at the Na Bolom Cultural Association serves this noble cause.