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Posts Tagged ‘Chiapas’

As previously mentioned, I am currently in el norte.  Visiting my family and friends has taken me from Oaxaca to New York, across the country to California, followed by Colorado, and then back to California.  I have been on multiple airplanes, traversed through multiple airports, and been complimented multiple times on my earrings.  We are not talking gold or silver filigree, we are talking about earrings made from jícara — the fruit of the Crescentia cujete (aka, Calabash tree).  [Click on images to enlarge.]

 

 

Earrings are not the only things made from the dried fruit of these humble trees that grow in less-than-ideal environments.  The Tacuate women of Santa María Zacatepec (Oaxaca) use them as hats.

The gourds are cut in half, washed, and with seeds removed, set out in the sun.  Once dry, throughout southern Mexico, they frequently are lacquered, decoratively painted, and used as cups for tejate and other traditional beverages.

 

 

As youi can see, in Villa de Zaachila, in the valley of Oaxaca, this use is even celebrated in a Día de Muertos mural.

Larger jícaras, known as jicalpextles, are a specialty of Chiapa de Corzo (Chiapas).  However, they have assumed a special role in the Zapotec village of Teotitlán del Valle (Oaxaca), where they are filled with handmade sugar flowers and carried during weddings, religious celebrations, and other important fiestas.

 

 

And, recently there was an exhibition of carved jícaras by Salomón Huerta and José Cruz Sánchez from Pinotepa de Don Luis (Oaxaca) at the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular Oaxaca (MEAPO).  At last, the talent of the artisans who create these pieces is being given the recognition it deserves and their creations are being appreciated as works of art.

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So, hurray for the not-so-humble jícara and the ingenuity and creativity of the indigenous peoples of the world whose traditions teach them to honor and not waste the gifts of planet earth.

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Last Friday, I walked over to the B&B, El Diablo y la Sandía and walked into the highlands of Chiapas.

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It was the first of a 3-day expoventa of textiles by El Camino de los Altos

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and Chamuchic, two weaving collectives from Chiapas.  Their colors and designs are sophisticated and I wanted them all!

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Alas, the budget limited me to two pillow covers that have joined two solid colored brocaded covers that I bought at a similar expoventa a year and a half ago.

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I think they look great under my beautiful poncho woven by Amalia Martínez Casas.

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Colibríes?  I can’t resist!

Hummingbird from a wall in San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas…

Hummingbird painted on wall

Hummingbird from a NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope photo…

Hubble image looks like the profile of a hummingbird

Separated at birth?  Cool article from Slate about this photo…

The Hummingbird Galaxy

I was pondering writing a longish post about the picture above, talking about what galaxies are, how they can physically collide, how their gravity can twist and distort their shapes into all sorts of weird things …

But seriously. That galaxy looks like a hummingbird.* What more do you need?

OK, you need a little more. For one, I’ve written quite a bit about how galaxy collisions happen, so you can read about how these work here and here. The two galaxies in this collision are called NGC 2936 (the blue birdie one) and NGC 2937 (the smaller cottonball one). Together they are known as Arp 142, named for an astronomer who observed weird, distorted galaxy pairs.They’re located about 300 million light-years from Earth.

Two things really stand out to me in this picture (besides a galaxy that looks like a flippin’ hummingbird). One is the long, delicate tendril of dark reddish dust exhumed from the previously spiral-shaped galaxy NGC 2936, flung into a long arc across tens of thousands of light-years of space. I wish we had more three-dimensional data here; I’d love to know what this structure really looks like from different angles. Since dust is very dark, it blocks light coming from behind it, so this tendril is in front of the hummingbird galaxy, or perhaps embedded in it.

The other thing is that the smaller galaxy seems to have survived this collision pretty well. The shape is only mildly distorted; you can see a bit of off-centered nature to the glow of stars around the core. I suspect its more compact nature has a lot to do with that; the stars are closer together, perhaps, and the overall gravity of all those stars helped it retain its shape.

And there is one other thing. These are two very different galaxies colliding! The ex-spiral galaxy is very blue, indicating lots of star formation happened recently. Young, massive stars are blue, and when galaxies collide, the gravitational interaction can cause huge clouds of gas to collapse and furiously form stars.

The other galaxy is yellower, indicating an older, more stable population—blue stars don’t live long, so a galaxy this color must not have formed stars in a long, long time. Billions of years, for sure. You can tell by looking that it doesn’t have much gas and dust in it, which fits; if it had, the collision would have stirred them up, and we’d see more blue stars there as well.

Note too that you can see a handful of far more distant galaxies in the picture. The ones to the lower right are red, which is most likely due to having their light absorbed and reddened by the dust in the hummingbird galaxy; that’s another thing interstellar dust does, much like dust and haze in the air can make a sunset look red.

All in all, there’s a lot going on in this image! The hummingbird shape makes me smile, and don’t get me wrong, it’s cool. But what you’re seeing here is far more than just a shape in the clouds; you are seeing a massive collision on a cosmic scale, the collective might of 100 billion suns, their gravity reaching out and twisting the shapes of these galaxies, stretching them like taffy, molding them like clay.

The Universe operates on the grandest of all scales, manipulating forces and energies far too large for us to grasp in our puny brains. Yet when it does so, it generates beauty and perhaps even amusement in those same brains. It helps us appreciate it and gives us another reason to want to. And, after a while, we really can begin to grasp what the Universe is telling us.

Maybe our brains aren’t so puny after all.

*Some folks say it looks like a penguin. I can see that, but it’s silly. I mean, c’mon, a galaxy shaped like a penguin? Ridiculous.

h/t Chris

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For lovers of textiles and Mexico, the latest online issue of the magazine, HAND/EYE (love the title!), has a terrific interview with friend and textile designer/collector/researcher, Sheri Brautigam.  The article, Documenting the Lives of Textiles, covers a wide range of topics, including preservation and revival of traditions and concerns re traditional versus modern designs.  As would be expected, given the subject matter, it includes lots of photos!

 

Documenting the Lives of Textiles

BY Annie Waterman | October 10, 2012

Close-up of traditional shawl

Courtesy of Sheri Brautigam

An Interview with Sheri Brautigam

Textile expert, Sheri Brautigam, shares with HAND/EYE Online, her experience as a documenter of “living” indigenous textiles. 

HAND/EYE: How did you first find yourself in Mexico and documenting “living” indigenous textiles?

Sheri Brautigam: I went to the university in Mexico City in the 60’s and that was the beginning of my lifelong relationship and many in-depth experiences with Mexico. This time, I was training Mexican English teachers through the English Language fellowship with the U.S. State Department—sort of like the English Teachers’ Peace Corps. My location was in a small town in the State of Mexico—Atlacomulco, surrounded by many different indigenous villages. When I went to a nearby village Mazahua ‘Saints Day’ festival and saw the amazing garments the ladies were wearing, I started my documentation.

H/E: How did you first get into becoming a researcher/ textile collector?

SB: I had a textiles design studio (surface design textiles) in San Francisco for about 18 years, so I had been collecting world textiles since the 1960s. That was when they were readily available from world travelers. I have loved and been involved with textiles most of my life and always want to know how these beautiful things are made … and now in Mexico, it’s even more exciting to see them in context. 

H/E: What sort of future do you predict for the world of traditional textiles? What changes have you noticed over the years? 

SB: I’m very hopeful that many traditional Mexican textiles will survive and become even finer. This I have seen in Oaxaca and Chiapas. When appreciation comes from the outside world and the artisans can earn money, they have an incentive to keep producing. The more money they can earn from superior work also encourages some artisans with higher skills to train their children. The more affluent indigenous people become, the more pride they have in their own culture and the continuation of their textile traditions.

Certainly some of the indigenous will leave their village and go to the towns and cities to work and wear jeans and t-shirts—but when they come home they will wear a huipil for the feast day. It’s their cultural identity.

Click HERE to read full article.

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My mom was a folk dancer.  She had studied ballet, tap, and acrobatic dancing when she was young and brought that training and muscle memory along with her when she took up folk dancing in her mid thirties.  I spent many hours over the years watching her dance; the Kamarinskaya from Russia, Swedish Hambo, Fandango from Portugal, Mexico’s Jarabe Tapatio, and so many more.  In addition to being a talented dancer, she made her own costumes.  A dressmaker’s dummy was a permanent fixture in her bedroom, yards of colorful cotton fabric and braid were piled next to the sewing machine, and in the evenings her hands and eyes were often occupied embroidering pieces for a new costume.

Mom died in 1989, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.  So, on this Mother’s Day, this is for you mom…

Multicolored huipil with peacock design

Guatemala

Jewel toned embroidered huipil with peacock design

Zinacatán, Chiapas, Mexico

Black skirt embroidered on the diagonal with flowers

Zinacatán, Chiapas, Mexico

Black dress with gold-tone embroidery on sleeve and bodice.

San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Geometric yellow and red embroidery on purple skirt with lace bottom

Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico

Close up of the back of a brightly embroidered huipil on black velvet

Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico

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In Coyoacán, Federal District of Mexico City

Magenta numbers 104 against bright yellow wall

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas…

Wooden number 40 against white patch on tan rock wall with terracotta geometric design

And Oaxaca…

Black Art Deco 502 against white wall

The zeros have it!

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