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back to Wirikuta,

even as they return to

their houses carrying the peyote for their

festivals.s

The

pilgrims

feave

the

sacred

land precipitately, remain too long in They return to the

for it is dangerous

to

the realm Sierra as

of the gods.

mortals,

ex-

hausted and exhilarated mous undertaking.

by the enor-

Emeterfa Rios Martfmez and the Art of Yarn Paintfng

When Emetena

Olga Vasquez arranged for to make her first trip out of her

native country, to invite them

I seized the opportunity both to 1S1. After a tour of

Cafifornia,

they flew to

Philadelphia

and

conducted

a workshop

and lecture

sem-

brarians and

friends to

hear this

remark-

able woman.

Emeteria

spoke in

Spanish

inar.

We had invited

many local art li-

of her life and work.

ner

was

marvelous

to

Her tranquil behold. This

man- moth-

er of

of 10 children and creator of hundreds

paintings

was

an

inspiration.

She

epitomizes

the best in humanity—cre-

ativity,

sensitivity,

and

compassion.

She

then

proceeded

to

teach

the

group

how to create

Emeteria

could indeed

yarn paintings. show each per-

son how to press she could not tell endless variety of her fertile mind.

yarn into beeswax, us how to generate

but the

images

that come from

Using

the idiographic

language creates

of the Huichol an endless variety

mythology, she of psychedelic

images in sentations

her work. The symbolic repre-

she

“paints”

vary

according

to

her current

thoughts

and mood.

Olga

provided

a

simultaneous

transla-

tion of Emeteria’s

talk and the written

description of Olga was able

“Pilgrimage

to Wirikuta.”

to

add

parenthetical

com-

ments chols,

about since

the customs of the Hui- she has lived with them.

However,

Bob Kendrick

dexing

translation

staff

of

later

the 1S1

in-

provided

a

literal The

translation

of the text.

most

dktinctive

characteristic

of

Huichol yam

paintings

combination

of bright,

is their unusual

contrasting

col-

ors. They are created by pressing strands

of yarn into warm beeswax

plywood

panels.

1.2 These

originated

from

those used

spread over techniques to create a

179

nien”ka—a small, disc-shaped,

devotion-

ed with cera

compache,

wild bees’ wax

and soap,

al object made from gourd. The surface of

the

bottom

of a

the

gourd is

coat-

a

mixture of

and

decorated

with Often

strands of deposited

brightly

colored

yam. 4

in

a

sacred

location

as

an offering, symbolizes

a

the nien”ka, or “gods face, ”

threshold

or

passageway

to

the supernatural

The

Huichols

gious

people,

realm.z. 10 are an intensely

reli-

immersed

throughout

their

lives

in ritual

and

sacred

sym-

bols. 11.12Furst paraphrases

the

pioneering

works

of

Norwegian

classic, ethnog-

rapher

Carl

Lumholtzl

1.13,14 when

he

states that or another traditional ics, social gy.”lz (p, dent than

“religion in

one

manifestation

permeates

all

of life for the

Huichol, relations,

including econom- and even technolw

19) Nowhere in Huichol

is this more evi- arts and crafts.

Their cation

art is with

a means of direct communi-

their

deities.

According

to

FurSt, sacred art maybe

variously meant

to

ensure

prosperity,

health

and

fertility,

bountiful

crops,

and

to promote

the

general welfare of ty, but it is always beautiful.lz

the whole functional

communi- as well as

Furst notes that among

the many as-

pects most

of the Huichol

remarkable

has

refigion,

been

its

one of the

steadfast

resistance to modifications” (p. 19) Among

“all but the most minor from Western sources. 12 the changes the modern

world tively

has inspired,

however,

recent

innovation

of

is the rela- yarn paint-

government

has in-

medical

services,

methods,

and im-

ing. As the Mexican

troduced

schools,

modern

agricultural

the

Huichols

have grown

to accept more

and

more of

the trappings

of modern civ-

proved

communications

to the Sierras,

ilization, omy. 10 When

including

a

money-based

econ-

their sacred art drew the atten-

tion their

of outsiders

at

financial

needs

the same increased,

time

that

the

Hui-

chols—expanding

on

articles

that

previ-

ously had began to commercial art, among

been religious in nature— produce items expressly for purposes. Aside from yam the most common objects for

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