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Let’s celebrate spring by taking an internet trip to…south Poland? Zalipie is an ancient village in the province of Lesser Poland Voivodeship (which has been a center of Polish culture since the early middle ages). The village is a famous tourist attraction for an amazing reason. People in Zalipie paint exquisite colorful flowers on everything!
The tradition started more than a century ago, when women started painting bouquets to beautify their homes (or to distract attention from problem areas). The original artists used handmade bristle brushes, easily obtained pigments, and fat from dumpling drippings as their medium, however as the years passed and the tradition was passed down over generations the paintings have become larger, finer, and more colorful.
The village has earned the epithet “the most beautiful village in Poland,” and judging by these pictures which I have purloined from around the internet that description is apt. The omnipresent flower paintings in all different styles and colors shows that the artists of Zalipie are as innovative and inspired as they are tireless. Yet the photographs also indicate that the omnipresent floral folkart is not the only charm the village offers. It looks like it would be a pastoral paradise even without the exquisite flower art.
I can’t wait for spring to make Brooklyn into a natural gallery of flowers, but until then, I am glad I can go on the internet and check out the never-fading flower garden which the residents of Zalipie have made for themselves and the world.
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).