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sale are beaded and handwoven

necklaces, bracelets, bags that may be either

beaded or terns. Although

embroidered

most yarn

in

colorful

pat-

art is still based

on interpretations

of traditional

religious

stories,

yarn

painting

has

become

very

much an urban enterprise.

lo

chols, including their homeland

in

Emeteria, the rugged

Many Hui- have left and isolat-

ed Sierra Madre of the west central isco and Nayarit

Occidental Mexican to live in

mountains states of Jal- small towns

and cities;

there they find

a dependable

supply

of

plywood-the

indispensable

base their

of yam paintings—and

outlets

creations.

Some

artists—again,

for in-

cluding

Emeteria-derive

their

liveli-

hood through

their art. And when the

supply exceeds

the current

under desperate

economic

demand, conditions,

or

the Huichols

often

subsistence

levels.

lower

their

prices

to

While many Huichol yarn artists learn

their trade as a child traditional

in urban centers, in the mountains, methods by one

1° Emeteria, was taught of her distant

best known

student

of

Silva, who

was the

first

Ben{tez

relatives,

JOS6 Benftez S4nchez.

S&schez

is the

Ram6n

Medina

Huichol to

develop yarn

marketable

art.~ Emeteria

painting

into a

embarked

on

her own career

when she entered

and

won a to train

workshop competition young, aspiring artists.

designed

She now lives with town of Compostela,

her just

family a few

in the hours’

drive from the Pacific coast. Though

moved

from

the

Sierra

Madre,

she

re- has

not abandoned

her traditions,

remaining

spiritually through

Emeteria,

while united her art. In working with her people the last few years , on commis-

education.

She

is

currently

studying

to

be a nurse’s

aide

in

workshops

offered

by

sions from

1S1,

has finished her primary

the Mexican governmen return to the mountains work in a clinic.4

t

and hopes to of her birth to

“Nffios

huicholes”

Among those who have been captivat- ed by the unique culture of the Huichols is Lark Lucas, a native of Salt Lake City,

180

Utah, now living in Ben Lomond, fornia, just south of San Francisco

.

Cali- She

ceramic-tile

portraits

of Huichol

chll-

dren, a boy

and a girl

(see insert).

Each

executed

for 1S1 4’Nii’foshuicholes,

” two

of

nine glazed

terra-cotta

tiles

mounted

on

a plywood

panel. Each

tile

measures

18“ x 36” (45cm x 90cm) portrait

consists

approximately

6“ x 12” (15cm

x Xkrrt).

They daily

stand of my

in my office and faraway friends.

remind

me

are

based not

on actual

upon

a collage

of Lucas’s

The portraits

subjects,

but

memories, culled from over a 25-year period.

preadolescent

boy

and

visits to Mexico Is They show a girl in traditional

Huichol costume. These costumes, all Huichol everyday implements,

like are

sacred.

According

to Robert

Mowry

Zingg,

University

of Chicago,

IIIinois,

the cleanliness and overall condition of the clothing supposedly indicates the moral state of the wearer. He notes, however, that Huichols don’t take this aspect of their religion too seriously. 1b

Embroidered symbols and patterns are cross-stitched into the clothlng of both sexes, young and old alike.s (p. 184-97) The boy’s hat is decorated with squirrel tails and the feathers of eagles and hawks, the symbols of the first peyote hunt. The hems of the boy’s loose trousers bear the flower pattern of the peyote plant. The horse motif on the

boy’s shoulder

is testimony

to Western

influences

in

the

Huichol

culture.~

The peyote-flower

theme is again

ble in the belt, and

borders of the girl’s skirt, the sleeve of her blouse.

visi- her She,

too, bears the West: though an

a sign her

of the inroads

made

handmade

fiddle.

by Al-

instrument

of

Western

origin,

it, together a prominent

with the guitar, has acquired role in the peyote hunt, for

when the peyote

is first discovered,

the

Huichols will often away, accompanied

dance by joyous

the night melodies

from their holding a

instruments. 17The tsikuri, a wooden

girl is also cross with

strands

mond

of yam wound about it

pattern.

This

is

sometimes

in a dia- called a

“gods eye” by of the power to the unknowable,

non-Huichols.

A symbol

perceive and understand the tsikun”traditionally

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