Mexico’s Huichol resource page: their culture, symbolism, art

articles History & People History Indexes Other Indigenous Groups
Yarn paintings - images of a vanishing culture

Descendants of the Aztec, the Huichol number about 18,000, most of whom live in the sierra of Jalisco and Nayarit. Having withstood the Spanish Invasion, they are still striving to keep their culture alive and viable, despite the ever increasing physical and cultural encroachment of their Mexican neighbors. Peyote is a focal point for their ceremonies, and their colorful beadwork and yarnwork reflects a reverent and symbiotic relationship with nature.

The Huichol People

The Huichol people are a culture in transition as modern life encroaches upon their traditional ways. Many have migrated to cities such as Tepic and Guadalajara; others struggle with poverty, land-invasion and illness caused by pesticides in tobacco plantations where many find work as day laborers. Few outsiders are welcome in Huichol villages located in the high sierra.

Huichol Literature

Huichol proverbs offer insight into the world view of these Native American people, their ceremonial use of peyote, and their relationship with nature. Personal stories and fiction also figure in this section of Mexconnect.

Symbolism and Art

Although the sale of artwork is a way of survival, Huichol art is deeply symbolic, and nierikas — bead or yarnwork “votive paintings” — are petitions to the gods. Maize, peyote and deer are usually present as well as candles, arrows, serpents, scorpions and the gods’ eyes that point to the four cardinal directions. Each individual Huichol artisan develops his or her own personal style.

Huichol girl making a mask
Huichol girl making a mask

Shamanism in the Huichol Culture

The marakame, or shaman priest, plays a central role in everyday Huichol life. He is the nexus with the gods, invoked through the ceremonial use of peyote, and receives instructions from the spirit world through visions, dreams and trances.

Cultural sponsors and links

These people, groups and foundations work to preserve Mexico’s Huichol heritage.

Huichol Art – with Picture galleries — a visual thrill

Beautiful photographs offer a glimpse inside the world of the Huichol and their extraordinary art. Huichol art appeals to the collector for its color, beauty and rich tribal meaning. Authentic Huichol art is available from in association with National Geographic. Each piece is hand-crafted using traditional techniques, and many pieces are signed. A link is provided from every work of Huichol art to the bio of its creator.

The Huichol of Mexico: Cooperating Sites and Credits

This Feature Section on the Huichol, their culture, history and art, could not have been possible without the cooperation and support of a number of people and their web sites. To them we at Mexico Connect give thanks, and invite you to visit their sites.

Published or Updated on: May 14, 2011 by MexConnect Staff © 2009-2020
Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *