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Yarn Painting: Methods and Materials


Huichol yarn paintings evolved from earlier religious offerings made of stone slabs carved with linear designs. The raised ridges of the designs were painted with natural
dyes from plant, insect and mineral sources. As contact with the outside world increased, traders and Huicholes themselves realized the economic potential of their vibrant designs.


They sought ways to transfer the designs
to formats that were portable and faster to produce.

Key to the spiritual function of the stone nierikas from which the yarn paintings are derived, was the fact that every element of their construction must come from nature.


Solving the problem of how to make them saleable to the outside world had the same self-imposed requirement.

As a solution, the Huichol devised a wood support covered with beeswax. Softened by the sun, the wax was inscribed with linear designs. Strands of dyed yarn were pressed
into it, delineating images and filling the backgrounds with intense color.





Museum Location

Tweed Museum of Art

University of Minnesota Duluth Campus

1201 Ordean Court

Duluth, MN 55812-2496

Info: 218-726-8222 or 218-726-6552

store: 218-726-6139



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Last modified on 05/15/18 12:06 PM
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