Saturday, July 16, 2011

Huicholian Beaded Deer

Photo by Sara Lynn Michener

Huicholian Beaded Deer
Don Julio, artist

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. The deer is the most sacred of all animals, its blood a symbol of fertility. Huichol Indian beadwork art is made by first spreading a thin layer of beeswax over a wooden form or hollowed gourd, and then meticulously pushing small glass beads into the wax to create complex patterns and symbols.

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