Tag Archives: moon

Yarn paintings

Huichol yarn painting is a traditional artistic technique that is used for recording dreams, visions, myths, and the innermost personal prayers of the artists. Because the Huichol language is non-written, these story boards are used to express the beauty and wisdom of the ancient Huichol cultural tradition. Huichol artists can be thought of as modern day scribes.

The Huichols use smaller version of these paintings as offerings to the many gods and goddesses that reign over their isolated homeland in the Sierra Madre mountain range in Mexico.

Yarn paintings originate from votive objects the Huichols create as ceremonial offerings. The small wax and yarn votive objects are made as prayers to depict the desires of the people and their families. After the ceremonies they are taken to far off sacred places and left for the gods and goddesses.

The larger paintings, made by Huichol artists for sale, utilize the same technique for placing strands of yarn onto a thin surface of beeswax mixed with pine resin that has been spread onto a wooden board. It is a meticulous and time consuming art form that may be a successor to the featherworking techniques of the Huichol ancestors, the Aztecs.

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Beaded masks

These beautiful, one-of-a-kind beaded masks where made by pressing tiny glass beads into natural beeswax spread over a paper-mache form. Bead art is made in limited quantities by the Huichol and Tepehuano Indians of southwestern Mexico. Click here for additional information on the Huichol people and how this art was made.

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Beaded skulls

London-based Catherine Martin of Our Exquisite Corpse traveled to Mexico and discovered the beautiful beadwork of the Huichol. She worked with them to create these stunning beaded clay skulls at the time of  ‘dia de los muertos’, the day of the dead.

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African tribal influences?

When most people think about Mexico they never think about Africa, or natives of African descent. However there are areas in Mexico that have a large black population.

Black heritage in Mexico is not only isolated to Veracruz and Costa Chica. In the 1500 Spaniards brought Africans into Mexico because the Indians were dying. By the mid-1600, there were more than 15000 blacks and mulattos in Mexico. The races in Mexico mixed, thus making Mexico a nation of mestizos (mixed peoples).

 This work of art showing a Huichol indian playing a drum has something African about it, it almost looks like it has been influenced by African tribal art. A reliquary figure covered with beads and Huichol symbolism.

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“Holy cow!”

Two stunning decorated Huichol cow sculptures, standing in a gallery in Jalisco/ Guadalajara México.

 

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Yarn paintings

Huichol yarn painting is a traditional artistic technique that is used for recording dreams, visions, myths, and the innermost personal prayers of the artists. Because the Huichol language is non-written, these story boards are used to express the beauty and wisdom of the ancient Huichol cultural tradition. Huichol artists can be thought of as modern day scribes.

Click here to see more Huichol yarn paintings.

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Beaded eclipses

The eclipse has special meaning for the Huichol, because it represents the eclipse of July 11 1991 at 10:21 a.m. Pacific Coast time. This is the sixth sun according to the ancient Meso-American Calendars of the Maya. When Cortez arrived it was the begining of the fifth sun. As we all know, Cortez changed their world more than any other force they had ever encountered in their past. Evidently they are expecting some large scale Earth changes according to their divine cosmology.

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The Huichol Center for Cultural Survival and the Traditional Arts

The Huichol Center:

Many miles away, in the desert region of San Luis Potosi, in an area that has been designated by UNESCO as a world biodiversity reserve, the aquifers and ecosystems are under siege by mining companies and agro business polluters who have illegally obtained land, water and mining rights. While the Huichols hold title to their lands in their mountain homeland, they do not have formal title to the sacred sites on these desert lands that they consider to be their primordial paradise.

 Their annual migration to this peyote habitat, “Wirikuta”, is the root of their cultural identity because it honors a sacred covenant between the Huichol people and their creators. The collection of sacred waters from the springs in this desert oasis and the harvesting of peyote for their ceremonies are a cornerstone of Huichol ceremonial life.

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Save Wirikuta!

REAL DE CATORCE, Mexico – From atop the sun-scoured mountain called Cerro Quemado, the vast basin below might seem like any other desolate corner of the northern Mexico desert. Ribbons of asphalt and dirt cut through dun-colored landscape choked with cactus, creosote and the occasional tree. Trains, as if trudging ants from these heights, move north toward the border and on to Houston bearing auto parts, clothing and other treasures conjured by Mexican and Chinese hands.

Yet this expanse of apparent nothing is anything but. This is Wirikuta, the hallucinogenic holy land of a tiny and long-besieged indigenous nation called the Huichol. From this very mountain, many Huichol believe, was born the sun and the world as we know it.

Unfortunately for the Huichol, the mountains that cradle the Cerro Quemado also begat some of the planet’s richest veins of silver, which for more than two centuries filled the vaults of Spanish kings and local grandees alike.

Now, Canadian- financed plans to tap those arteries anew have set soul searchers against wealth seekers in a fresh echo of the nearly 500-year contest for Mexico’s essence.

“All this area is sacred,” said Marciano de la Cruz, 34, a Huichol who sells handicrafts in Real de Catorce, the crumbling town that since the late 18th century anchored the dozens of mines that once operated here. “Why can’t they put the mine somewhere else?”

In another age, the worries of the Huichols might have been ignored, the new mine opened with little fanfare.

 

But the 1994 Maya uprising in southernmost Chiapas has sensitized many Mexicans to indigenous concerns and beliefs. Advocacy groups have flourished, pushing ecology and human rights and economic fairness. So the Huichol’s cause has gained strength as environmentalists, anthropologists, New Age devotees and protesters of the “occupy everything” stripe lined up behind it. Continue reading

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The sacred cactus

Lophophora williamsii – Peyote

The peyote ceremony for the Huichol begins with their journey to find it. The land where this sacred plant grows is located hundreds of miles fromwhere they live in the remote desert of San Luis Potosi. The Huichol call this area “Wirikuta” and it is to this location that they make their annual pilgrimage to collect the sacred peyote. Once, this long journey was made by foot but today vehicles are used to travel to the general vicinity of where the plant grows.

Peyote is not an easy plant to find. It grows under bushes and its color, a gray-green hue, blends impeccably with the surrounding terrain. Sometimes peyote is ingested in order to find the plant and traditionally a shaman leads the group of people looking for it.

The quest to locate peyote is considered a hunt and the Huichol seek spiritual guidance from the blue deer, an animal that is a major deity in their cosmology. Bows and arrows are oftentimes carried by the Huichol while on their search for peyote, to symbolize the intent of the hunt. In addition to the blue deer, which is depicted frequently in their artwork, the other major deities found in the religion of the Huichol are maize, the eagle and the sacred plant, peyote. Continue reading

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