Size: 130x200cm; 4.2x6.5ft
Master weaver: Clemente Mendoza, 84 years old.
Materials ans methods: criollo sheep wool hand dyed with colorfast aniline dyes using an exhaustive method. Handwoven on a Zapotec style loom of the 16th century adapted from European styles. Woven using a 7 threads per inch reed.
Desgin, patterns and symbols.
The back story of this rug is that this is probably the last one of its kind that Don Clemente will ever weave; he felt like it was harder to weave this time given that it is a very intricate pattern. Weaving this rug took about 7 weeks and lots of concentration, you can see parts where Don Clemente got a bit confused in the weaving and missed on the pattern; rather than seeing this a mistake, this is a testament of the tenacity and perserverance of Benigulaás (People of mature heart, the ancient people), our elders resist to dissappear and be erased from history. Don Clemente needs the money to buy some medicines for him and his wife but also to pay for a Guelaguetza for a family gathering coming over. Our elders' perseverance and tenacity in keeping the ancient ways alive inspires the younger generations to keep cultivating that knowledge and to keep cultivating it. Don Clemente is one of my few elders still alive, he is a cousin of my Abuelo Celestino Lazo Mendoza. We lost a lot of elders first during waves of modern diseases like diabetes and hyper tension, now those diseases also played a role affecting people with Covid infections. The elders that survived carry on the stories and teachings that we treasure and will keep for the future generations.
This rug depicts the steam pattern, the fifth element in relation to water, earth, fire and air. Steam emerges in the dance and balance of these four elements as in the healing Temazcal, the ancient sauna ritual practiced by our ancestors. The steam in the Temazcal increases our body temperature evenly helping us heal a lot of illnesses, we know for example that heat is the most effective way that our bodies have to kill off viruses, that is why we get high temperatures when we are sick. The steam also extracts oils from the plants used on the floor and the bouquet of the temazcal as we whip our bodies to condense the heat on our skin. Steam is the spirit of the earth, released by the fire, carried by air into the sky world to commune with creator.