Bainchei Galbaiín: the weaving of life

Textile artist: Leonardo Martínez

Size: 80x90cm 

Materials and methods: criollo sheep wool and feathers hand dyed using aniline dyes in an exhaustive vat. Woven on a 7 threads per inch harness using a Zapotec loom of the XVI century style. Woven on cotton warp. The design was created mixing tapestry weaving technique with oil painting over designated areas for increased texture and form. 

Design, patterns and symbols. 

This rug painting in inspired in the web of life that mother earth weaves for us to sustain life on earth. In the Ben'zaá (Cloud People, Zapotec) cosmology we see the divine as feminine. Shāán could be translated as holy, saint, virgin; it is the word from wich mother is derived in our language. Shaāna, means my mother; we not only refer to the earth as mother earth (Shāán Gueshliu) but also to the sun as Shāán gubiísh (holy sun/mother sun), Shāán beuu (holy moon/mother moon), the word shaá is also associated with the word for bottom and someone's bottoms so it is very feminine but also is used for the up direction as in Shāa Guiíba'a (the sky dome). This rug reflect those earthly and cosmic energy flows woven together to make life possible, the earthy colors and the cold blue colors of the sky come into balance in this rug as the come together on earth to sustain the life support systems that make life possible. Roots and mycelium are woven by the hands of Ixchel, the ancient Mayan weaving goddess that is constantly weaving creation, our ancestors knew her by the name Pitao Huichaana/ Cochana/Nohuiçana or Bidaou Bichāán as we would pronounce it nowadays. Pitao Huichana is the creator of humans, animals, protector of children, mother Goddess and child birth protector; she is portrayed young as a symbol of the strength and fertility that remains in our ecosystems whilst sending a prayer to the skyworld to summon the rains and comune with the sun in one breath and a dance of life's energy. 

The reverse side of this painting rug is a window of perception into that union of heaven and earth. Our ancestors used the sacred plant called Badaoü (Turbina Corymbosa) and Baadun (Ipomoea Violácea) to induce subtle startes of perception achieved due to the precense of alkaloids of the lisergic acid amide family. Our curanderas use this talking plant in healing ceremony to get people into a dream state in which they can commune with the plant and identify their source of illness and prescription for cure. These sacred plants connects us to the roots of the web of life with the help of certain fungi that live in their seeds and produce the substances that alows us to communicate with the spirit world in times of ilness and need. The hand of Nohichana/Ixchel is weaving the roots of the sacred vines with the branches of the tree of life in the sky where our spirit once rested waiting to come and live a mortal existence. Nohuichana/Ixchel's face has turned into the heart of the cosmos, the heartbeat that governs life in the stars and here on earth, the mother who we shall seek when we need healing and nurturing. The state of the world right now calls for us to connect with the life support systems of the life that are being threatened by our technology and way of life, we must re route our way of life so that we prevent: ocean acidification, ozone depletion, contamination of fresh water, biodiversrity loss, disruption in the nitrogen and phosphorous cycle, degradation of soils and land use, climate change/chaos, aerosol loading in the athmosphere and chemical pollution to name the most urgent areas. 

If we listen to plants and fungi and hear their message we might be able to change the stories that we have accepted as facts in our socio political constructs. It takes a new dream to change the world of the tonal (logic, language world) and that dream is that of our ancestors, plantcestors, fungi and animal allies.

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