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Entertaining the Gods:

Yarn Paintings of the Mexican Huichol


Continuing through May 15th, 2011


These striking artworks are contemporary versions of nierikas or “mirror images of God,” created by native Huichol (WEE-chol) people of Mexico. Bright, bold and joyful, they originally functioned as aids to spiritual leaders, as they communicated between the Gods of the Huichol peyote religion, and earthly life.


The Huichol are native Mexicans who were relatively untouched by the Christianity of the invading Spanish, in part because they relocated to remote locations in the Sierra Madres Mountains. In a land of steep canyons, sparse rainfall, and uncertain crops, Huichole survival has depended upon their close psychic connections with nature.

These artworks are key to maintaining ancient traditions which remain a precarious reality for an indigenous people still relatively unaffected by Western civilization. Encroaching paper mills, airstrips, and government forces are rapidly changing this.


While its materials have changed from stone to yarn, Huichol art has changed very little. The works in this exhibition are drawn from a set of twenty-four Huichol yarn paintings which were donated to the Tweed Museum of Art in 2009, by a generous private patron.



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