What is Huichol art?
This is a Mexican tradition with thousands of years of existence, which is enriched with religious faith, in addition to the huicholes have been responsible for filling it with colorful and unique beauty, which from the first moment brings you closer to its remote origins.
Huichol art brings together different traditional styles of folk art. It is born from the images that the shamans visualized after taking a ritual drink called “Hikuri” (non-spiny Cactus containing mezcalin and alkaloid that produces narcotic effects), and after which different legends emerged.
These works are recognized for their shimmering colors as well as being the result of visions of huichol rituals. Huichol art can also be considered as a form of writing, because, through their creations, the Huicholes tell us stories and myths, besides that in Mexico there is no other ethnic group that so deeply preserves their beliefs, cults and traditions.
Previously the works were made with traditional materials such as clay and plant dyes, however these materials have been replaced by more commercial materials.
The materials with which this type of art is made have changed over the years, and there are different designs that have gradually been transformed, however, there are some symbols that still originate from their beliefs and traditions.
Pilgrimage – Keeping the land and tradition: Huicholes live in Nayarit and Jalisco at this time, they inhabit the Sierra Madre Occidental, some hypotheses indicate that they come from the Aztec yuto branch and that they were displaced by a Mesoamerican empire. In fact, in their mythologies you can find elements of southern tribes, with beliefs in gods originating from the sea.
It can be said that huicholes are indigenous and that most of them live in mountainous places. It is one of the ethnic groups that has managed to remain “pure” since the time of the conquest. Huichol art is a tradition that has passed from one generation to another with images displayed by the Shamans.
When the Spaniards invaded our territories, the Huicholes fled to the mountains, and hidden from conquest, they were able to forge their culture with traditions and a very particular aesthetic.
Main Huicholes crafts:
- Stamen boxes
The religion of the Huicholes.
The beliefs of these people are based on veneration of “Peyote, deer and maize”, with this I would also like to mention that the Huichol world is divided into three universes: that of mythology that says that life began in the ocean, which refers to maize, through which daily life and huichol traditions develop , all these traditions are practiced through weaving, clothing, bowl engravings and musical instruments, it is important to mention that when huicholes make their articles, they attach great importance to materials, colors and designs for their sacred meaning.
These are made of wooden boards with wax, sometimes these work are made with chaquiras or stamen and each carries symbols and stories of huichol culture and legends of its cosmogony. This type of art was gradually made very popular thanks to its threaded paintings, besides that his designs were very difficult to copy and took up to weeks to finish a single design.
Recognized artists of Huichol art.
Emetaria Ríos Martínez, great muralist of paintings made with stamen. José Benítez Sánchez along with all his offspring is recognized because his stamen paintings were recognized not only in Mexico but also in other countries. Kukame Olegario, known for developing works in traditional materials and innovating in other techniques. There are countless artists, and each develops its own touch, however, everyone respects and is guided by the original style, these manufacturing pieces of excellent quality and symbolic value.
In conclusion, huichol art, in addition to offering a product full of quality and striking colors, is one of the few artistic expressions that are linked with a mystical sense and experiences associated with rituals of “Hikuri” or “peyote”. It is one of the few pieces of art in the world that are considered pieces of worship and with a high religious symbolism.
Huichol Culture Dictionary:
Muvieris: Small bamboo arrows with feathers at one end.
Niérika: It is based on circular fabrics, made with multiculor stamen and a hole in the center.
Tacuats: Also known as embroidered mortars or glued chaquira, in these morrals, chamales used to keep sacred symbols.
Uweri: It is a small armchair that used to be used for huichol rituals.
Tepo: It is a drum made of oak trunk.
Peyote: Nonspinous cactus containing mescaline and alkaloid and predicts narcotic effects, this used to be used in rituals to communicate between men and the gods, open a mythical portal of their culture, meaning the beginning of life and the order of the world.
Eye of God. Piece used as a protective shield for the pilgrim to focus on the here and now.
Man with deer horns or eagle feathers: This symbolizes Kauyumari, who is known as the older brother and is a historical hero to the Wixárikas.He lived on earth and had communication with shamans, informing them of important events for the community.
Lizard: This is the protector of the “grandfather fire” and main god of the Wixárika worldview.Eagle: This is the bridge of communication between the gods and man.
Fire: Also called “tatewari” is the main deity “wixárika” also called Grandpa Fire and is older than the sun.
Tutorial videos on how to make a huichol stamen box:
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