• Product Size: 23" L x 31" W
All Shipibo textiles are created by women; embroidery cloths and painted cloths. In the painted cloths, patterns, referred to as kene, and depicting ayahuasca-based cosmology, are applied to natural, undyed cotton cloth or on cotton dyed in mahogany bark. The pattern is applied with a pointed bamboo quill or an iron nail using the juice of Huito (Genipa americana) berries, which produces a blue-brown-black dye. The patterns are visual music maps or scores documenting songs and chants icaros used by shamans during ayahuasca healing ceremonies.
The Shipibo are one of 14 indigenous tribes living in the Amazon basin in Peru and at present consist of around 35,000 people living in over 300 villages in the Pucallpa area situated mainly along the Rio Ucayali. They believe that the universe was sung into being by a giant anaconda, and as she sang, the patterns of her skin covered the universe. The intricate weavings created for centuries by the Shipibo are an ornate representation of the serpent's skin and, at the same time, are the actual, written music for the songs (icaros). Traditionally, the knowledge of the weaving patterns and songs has been passed down through the women, but due to the recent presence of western influences on the younger generations of women, these traditions are rapidly being lost.
The textile you see here is from the family of the late Herlinda Augustine and other women of the village of San Francisco. Herlinda Fernandez Augustine was one of a few Shipibo-Conibo indigenous woman healers – onaya or auahuasca shaman, whose life work is a unique repertoire of ancient songs (called icaros) which she uses to affect healing of her people and change in the world around her. Her songs speak of the power of plants and the importance of harmony between Man and Nature. She was featured in the award winning documentary film by Anna Stevens and her icaros are featured in a CD by the same name. Herlinda is survived by her husband Enrique, mother Manuela, daughter Magdalena and son Henry. We work with Henry and his wife Anny in support of keeping the weaving tradition alive.