Saturday, January 10, 2009

Huichol (wee-chol) Moody Custom

A blank Moody took the long journey from Canada to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and came back adorned in colorful beadwork applied by a Huichol Indian by the name of Roberto.

To create bead art, the Huichol Indians place a thin layer of beeswax with pine resin onto a hollowed out gourd or other form. Small, colorful beads made from glass are then picked up with a long needle and pressed into the wax. Using complex designs and symbols, the result is stunning.

Each piece tells a unique story about the legacy of their tribe, while each symbol is a representation of the many facets of their 'animism' religion.

Huichol beadwork originated as an art form long before the Spaniards set foot in Mexico. Bone, clay, coral, jade, pyrite, shell, stone turquoise and seeds colored with insect and vegetable dyes were utilized instead of the glass seed beads used today. The seed beads are finer and smaller and, as a result, more detailed work is being created. These beads are very similar to those that were brought to the mountains of Mexico by missionaries in the 18 century.

You can find Huichol bead work done in both traditional and contemporary designs. Because of the small number of artists and the individual creativity, no two pieces of bead art are alike.
Although some of the Huichol Indians create bead art for pleasure, most use the art to help generate income for the tribes.

Today, you can find a few Huichol Indians willing and eager to embrace modern life but most prefer to remain tucked away in their remote mountains where they work by hand with natural materials to create some of the most amazing pieces of art found in the world.