Mexican Folk Art
Here’s another piece from our Mexican folk art collection. This is one of Mike’s favorites, he bought it for me from our favorite Mexican folk art store here in Dallas, Casa Mexicana. If you look closely, you’ll notice that this painting is created from yarn. Another Huichol masterpiece. Mike likes the whole psychedelic aspect of the painting. I am intrigued once again by the process, just as I am by the Huichol beaded work I wrote of recently. I love the imagery. The colors are fabulous and speak to my love of all things bright and bold. The yarn painting is 23″ x 23″ which is a standard size for this work. I just can’t imagine having the patience to apply the strands of yarn one by one to build the image. Huichol art never ceases to amaze me.
The back of the painting has a written description of the piece along with the artist’s signature. I don’t speak or read Spanish, if anyone can interpret this writing, I would appreciate it. The nice people at Casa Mexicana gave us a loose translation, but another interpretation would be welcomed. As always, click on the photo to see an enlargement of the photo.
According to the Historic Line Camp Gallery in Santa Fe website, 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. Indeed, 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.
I was researching the Huichol yarn paintings and found quite a few sources on line. La Fuente Imports, Latin American Folk Art and Indigo Arts Gallery are a few of the more interesting sites for selections available to purchase. I stumbled upon the Dance Of The Deer Foundation, Center for Shamanic Studies which has a very interesting piece about the Huichols. Here’s the excerpt that I found most striking:
The Huichol Indians are a small tribe of approximately 15,000 living in central Mexico near Ixtlan in the Sierra Madre Mountains. They are said to be the last tribe in North America to have maintained their pre-Columbian traditions. Huichol shamans and healers practice today as they have for generations. In part, their survival is due to the focus of their traditions.
They have no history of war. Rather than training for war, they train their hearts to open to the healing powers of love and to the celebrations of life through the seasons. Because of this, they are famous for their strong ceremonial tradition, rich mythology and incredible visionary artwork.