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Vicenta Puzul de González
Tuc de Mujeres / Women's Steam Bath


Oil on canvas - 20 x 24 in.
2007


In this intimate scene, a woman who has just given birth is being cared for in the warm and humid atmosphere of the steam bath. The comadrona (midwife) is massaging her back, and they are accompanied by the woman's friends, or apprentices of the midwife. All are wearing the traje of Sololá.

The western highlands of Guatemala are quite cold, and many families have a small structure in which to take a steam bath. A new mother comes there for 40 days, to remove toxins or impurities from her body. During this time she can only take a sponge bath. She must not eat "cold" things such as cheese or avocados, because that might affect the milk for the baby. She receives back massages for her lungs, and special abdominal massages to help her womb recover.