“Huichol” in Mexico and the World

BY ANA RUIZ

The Huichol are a Mexican indigenous group, who have found the perfect  recipe to successfully maintain true to their roots and ideology in the 21st century. The Huichol cosmogony—their worldview— is based on their myths, which portray their gods as personifications of natural phenomena; fire being the most powerful of them. Their myths transcend storytelling and shape Huichol’s social structure and culture. 

The Huichol are internationally recognized for their artful  masterpieces which they use to convey ancestors’ stories or to visually represent their spiritual journeys initiated by peyote -a type of small cactus with psychoactive effects-. They believe it connects them with divinity.   

The most important individual within the society is the artists that are also a shaman. This means apart from leaving a heritage you are able to learn more about it. It is believed that there are three stages to communicate with the gods. First the shaman’s spirit leaves the natural world, the second gets to the supernatural world to interact with different sensations to acquire new knowledge, and third goes back to their body to narrate their experience.

Men as well as women artists develop different pieces such as necklaces, bracelets, hats, sandals,even embroidery on clothing or different house settings such as napkins or pillows. The principal materials are the threads and  “chaquiras”— colorful beads— but  weaving these together is not an easy task, there are some pieces that take more than a month to create. The vivid and fluorescent colors are a reflection of the palettes they experience in their visions.

I’m sure you have seen this type of art before this article! The Huichol community has spread from Nayarit to the rest of the world. From the French music duo Daft Punk, to the F1 Grand Prix, they have become the center of attention. 

Would you believe that millions of beads could tell a story? After this blog you sure do. Don’t forget to add into your itinerary a visit to a local Huichol workshop and learn more about this talented job. 


References:

Expresión artística de los huicholes. p. 56-109. Retrieved from http://catarina.udlap.mx/u_dl_a/tales/documentos/ldg/landa_c_al/capitulo4.pdf

Image 1:Giancarlo. (2013).Arte huichol: autonomía, estética y tradición. Retrieved from https://culturacolectiva.com/arte/arte-huichol-autonomia-estetica-y-tradicion 

Image 2: Huichol art in daft punk´s headsets. (2017).Retrieved from https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/arte-huichol-cascos-daft-punk.html 

Image 3: Huichol art in popular culture. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.cityexpress.com/en/travel-blog/from-the-desert-san-luis-helmets-of-daft-punk-huichol-art-popular-culture

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