Huichol Bead Art
The rugged mountains and remote villages of the Sierra de Nayarit north of Guadalajara are the homeland of roughly ten to fourteen thousand Huichol Indians. These were among the last tribes to come under Spanish rule, and their religion still is essentially pagan, revolving around several important agricultural deities. Deer is the most sacred of all animals, its blood a symbol of fertility. Corn is the source of all life, for it was Nacahue, mother of all gods, who gave corn to the first man for planting, and from it was born the first Huichol woman. Peyote is a means of communication with the gods, and the consumption of peyote by the Huichol people is a deeply religious experience. The unity of these three elements — deer, corn, and peyote — is the absolute core of Huichol beliefs.
The Huichols express these feelings through their art, which is made not from the standpoint of decoration, but to give profound expression to deep spiritual beliefs. This makes traditional Huichol art, whether it be meticulous beadwork, yarn paintings, wooden masks, or striking embroidered and woven personal adornments, beautiful not only from its aesthetic standpoint but from the psychological as well.
I have adopted the Huichol beading technique for my works, which include Prayer Bowls, Bracelets and Necklaces and Shamanic Power Animals. All items are individually hand crafted and created in a sacred space in through journey experience and/or meditative intentions specifically to address issues of importance for the client.
The prayer bowls:
Each prayer bowl is created using the bottom of a gourd which forms a bowl or with a small hand crafted ceramic bowl.. The tiny chaquira, or seed beads, are applied by coating the inside of the gourd with a special beeswax mixture called campeche. Then the beads are applied one by one using a needle, bringing the vision of the artist to life. The beading is perfect with every bead in place. This can easily be seen by clicking on each image where it will expand, showing the incredible detail of this art. Because smaller size 14 seed beads – called ‘micro beads’ – are used instead of the usual larger size 11, the level of skill and artistry is unsurpassed. This gallery-quality bowl will amaze you! Sacred symbols are incorporated into each piece.
Prayer bowls have traditionally been used in Huichol ceremonies and hold offerings such as peyote, ceremonial arrows, and “muvieris” or prayer sticks. Here they hold the artist’s visions in beads. The bowls vary in size typically somewhere around 3-5 inches in diameter and 1- 1.25 inch deep
Seen in real life, this bowl is imbued with the Huichol connection to the spirit world.
Other Beaded Obects (Animals & Masks):
Huichol art is more than just pretty objects.
Beaded animals, masks, and ceremonial objects use sacred symbols that represent the artist’s religious beliefs and culture.
Huichol Indians (pronounced Wee-chol) live in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains northeast of Puerto Vallarta, in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit.
Their art is a reflection of their intensely personal religious culture. In the words of legendary anthropologist Carl Lumholtz:
Religion to them is a personal matter, not an institution, and therefore their life is religious from the cradle to the grave and wrapped up in symbolism.”
The animal series that I have created in the essence of the Huichol symbolism and spiritual representation is to offer those who are working with "Power Animals" or "Totems" to have a beautifully crafted representation of this animal for their Sacred Space. Each piece takes many hours to complete and is finished in a ceremonial way to honor the spirit of the animal that has been crafted.
Similar to the items described above I have created bracelets , necklaces and earring pieces that incorporate the Huichol techniqe utilized the Sereguro stitch with the vivid color combinations and patterns that create items that are unique and perfect for everyday wear or for special ceremonial regalia.
All of my items that are available for purchase can be located at APU's Shopify site on APU's Facebook Page.