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Symbolic Images:

Metaphors Deployed and Preserved


Huichol shamanic art began with decorated prayer bowls placed in caves as offerings. Contemporary yarn paintings are interpretations of some aspect of a relationship to the
Gods, based on the Huichol belief that people create their own realities. Empowered by the visionary cactus, peyote, these works function like talismans, helping to maintain a
balance between man, nature and spirit.


The job of the Huichol shamans who create the paintings, is to help keep their people in harmony with the totality of their world. The animals, plants, colors and symbols of the yarn paintings represent the core of Huichol culture and religion, and each detail has great significance. Believing themselves to be a part of creation which entertains Gods,
Huichols are sustained every day by the God’s earthly representatives -- corn, peyote and deer.


In the Huichol world-view, each natural entity has a specific duty to perform. Eagle, snake, bird, jaguar, scorpion, turkey and deer are living creatures who, like men, also communicate with the Gods. Animals are believed to have a common Grandfatherly character. Plants are viewed through the persona of a Grandmotherly ancestor. Like man, plants like corn, flowers, peyote buttons, or datura lilies have a short life on earth, during
which they bear witness to and reflect the visual beauty and healthful bounty of nature.








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 12:07 PM
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