Size: 80x300cm; 2.6x10ft
Weaver: Jacinto Guiterrez
Materials and methods: criollo sheep wool hand dyed with natural dyes: Bèé (cochineal), Yauhtli (tagetes lucida), Xiuhquilitl (indigo) and synthetic dye for bright yellow. Handwoven on a Zapotec style loom of the 16th century adapted from European styles. Woven using a 7 threads per inch reed and wool rayon blend for warp.
Design patterns and symbols.
This rug honors the corn plant as our ancestor, maize is our staple and spiritual food so we are the people made of corn. In our ancient tales there have been four worlds created by the gods (energies of the cosmos) those four worlds got destroyed because of some inbalance. The current creation is the fifth sun in which humans are made from corn and the crushed bones of their ancestors. Quetzalcoatl, the feather snake traveled underground to find corn seeds in a red ants nest, he took the corn seeds into a cave where he performed the ghost dance and crushed the bones of the ancient humans and put it into the mix with his blood to shape the very first humans. The gods gathered and blew the spirit into them to have them come to life.
This ancient tale teaches us about the origins of agriculture and nixtamalization, the process by which corn is transformed into an edible and nutricious food. Leaft cutter red ants are the first farmers, we call them Bæ'e wich is almost the same sound that we use for fungi Bæe because our ancestors knew that they cultivate a fungi from which they feed. Up to this day farmers learn from ants and use their advice to plant corn because they can predict the rain patterns in a day; when red ants are very active gathering leafs during the midday there is a 80 to 90% chance of rain coming that evening. Experienced farmers can predict rains within a two hour accuracy.
Quetzalcoatl, the feather snake, crushed the bones of ancient humans to creat the fifth generation of humans, this ritual is performed daily by our people when we boil corn with lime stone (the ancient "bones"of shell fish, coral, algae and other organic debris); whitout this critical step corn is not fully digestible for humans and can cause pellagra.
The birds represents the spiritual energy that connects us to the sky and the lightning pattern represents the cosmic snake that descends from the sky to announce the rains. These earth and sky cosmic forces become one in our milpa food system and provides substenance for our body and meaning to our spirit.