The Otomi people are an indigenous Mesoamerican people of the Mexican Plateau. During the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish, the Otomi allied with the Spanish against the Aztecs (since the Aztecs were a hated upstart empire oppressing and enslaving them). Otomi populations practiced (and continue to practice) shamanism. The sacred spirit animals of the shaman’s spirit journey take a central position in the most characteristic artforms of the Otomi—which consists of exquisite embroidered animals in dazzling colors. This is the subject of today’s post because…well look at these textile artworks! I just innately love them. They are masterpieces. The colorful animals seem to come to extravagant life on the elaborately sewn panels.
In these embroidered medallions and picture squares, fantasy birds, fish, quadrupeds, and insects embroidered out of brilliant stripes swirl together among equally colorful flowers and vines. Most of the creatures seem to be based off of familiar domestic animals like burros, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, and bees—but the farm creatures are turning into each other and exchanging characteristics and identities. I am a bit surprised that Ferrebeekeeper has only just found out about Otomi art….
It isn’t like I went to the Mexican national art gallery and cherry-picked a few hallowed masterpieces from the walls either. Most of these beautiful examples were for sale on the internet by anonymous living artists and artisans whose work I like better than basically anything on sale right now in Chelsea for a thousand times more. I could have one of these amazing handmade artworks if I possessed…35 American dollars? How can such a beautiful thing cost less than a dvd of Fifty Shades of Grey? People who claim that the market is all-knowing should take note (and people who love beautiful art should be taking out their wallets).