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Celebrating the wonders of Mexico! – Huichol Art

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Descendents of the Aztec, the Huichol or Wixáritari, are one of the last remaining indigenous ethnic groups located on western-central Mexico, who have lived for centuries in the Sierra Madre Occidental, primarily in the Mexican states of Nayarit and Jalisco, and that continues to be true to their ancestral roots.

For the Huichol community, religion is an essential and central part of their lives. Their beliefs center around four principal deities: the trinity of Corn, Blue Deer and Peyote, and the eagle, all descended from their Sun God, “Tao Jreeku”. Most Huichols retain these traditional beliefs and are resistant to change.

Like many indigenous American groups, Huichols have traditionally used the peyote (hikuri) cactus in religious rituals. These rituals involve singing, chanting, and contact with ancestral spirits. Their art is closely related to these rituals, as most of their work is an attempt to capture and record the visions and the messages they experienced and received from their deities during these rituals.

In traditional Huichol communities, an important ritual artifact is the nieli’ka: a small square or round tablet with a hole in the center covered on one or both sides with a mixture of beeswax and pine resin into which threads of yarn are pressed.

In the past thirty years, about four thousand Huichols have migrated to cities. It is these urbanized Huichols who have drawn attention to their rich culture through their art. To preserve their ancient beliefs they have begun making detailed and elaborate yarn paintings, a development and modernization of the nieli’ka.

For the Huichol community, however, yarn painting is not only an aesthetic or commercial artform. The symbols in these paintings are sprung out of Huichol culture and its shamanistic traditions.

From the small beaded eggs and jaguar heads to the modern detailed yarn paintings in psychedelic colors, each is related to a part of Huichol tradition and belief.

The beaded art is a relatively new innovation and is constructed using glass, plastic or metal beads pressed onto a wooden form covered in beeswax. Common bead art forms include masks, bowls, and figurines. Like all Huichol art, the bead work depicts the prominent patterns and symbols featured in the Huichol religion.

Throughout Punta Mita, you will see examples of Huichol art — such as the embroidered pillows, beaded pieces, and paintings hanging on the walls of many residences that have incorporated the magnificent traditional art to complement their architecture and interior design.

If you would like to learn more about this amazing culture, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita you can find Cultural Concierge Enrique Alejos, he would be glad to share with you his knowledge about the Huichol Culture, and they even have a Huichol Beading Workshop for you to create your own master piece to take back home as a souvenir. Contact Four Seasons Concierge to learn more about their lectures and workshop hours dialing 329.291.6000.


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