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Shipibo - Textiles
Shipibo-Conibo, Amazon, Peru
Approximately 30 years ago, as many as 150 different ethno-linguistic groups could be identified living in the rainforest jungles of Peru. Today less than 30 ethnic groups remain. Among these survivors is one of the oldest ancestral groups, the Shipibo people, who now are at risk of becoming extinct. It is estimated that perhaps only 35,000 Shipibo remain living spread out in as many as 300 different family villages. For centuries, these people have survived primarily through their relationship with the jungle and through activities such as hunting, fishing and traditional agriculture.
Shipibo artisans are well known for their colorful designs on pottery and textiles. Inspired by Ayahuasca-induced visions, creation stories and mythic folklore, these refined geometrical designs are sophisticated interpretations of cosmic realities
The intricate embroidery on this cloth is a song-pattern. Song patterns are geometrically fractal designs...tiny stitches...make up the background patterns were explained...to be representative of the cosmic oneness....To the Shipibo, this oneness very literally connects all things in the universe. Over the top...is the main song line, and these patterns are recognized holistically by the shaman as the main identifying characteristic of the corresponding icaro. When I observed the shamans singing a cloth, they would trace their index finger along this main song line pattern, the melody rising or descending in general accordance with the rise and fall of the line...Along the main song line itself and at various points of intersection along its path, can be seen the beautiful geometric designs called the floras...These flowers represent turning points where the song may take a new direction, such as a new verse or chorus. Source: Woven Songs Of The Amazon (Icaros and Weavings of The Shipibo Shamans) by Barrett H. Martin.