Art and American Indians

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Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World: Featuring the Robert M. Zingg Collection of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Edited by C. Jill Grady
Edited by Melissa S. Powell

Known today for colorful, decorative yarn paintings renowned in the global art market, the indigenous Huichols of western Mexico have retained their unique culture and arts, creating traditional art and practicing ancient rituals that predate Spanish contact. The origins of modern Huichol art are found in the early religious arts that form the outstanding collection of Robert M. Zingg, the first American anthropologist to conduct extended fieldwork among the Huichol (1934–1935). Drawing from the Zingg collection housed at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this extensive volume features a vast array of Huichol art including textiles, prayer arrows, richly decorated votive gourd bowls, feather work, and beaded jewelry. Accompanying essays by noted Huichol scholars including C. Jill Grady, Peter T. Furst, and Hope MacLean explore the anthropological history of the Huichol and the themes of their unique cultural arts. Also included are rare field photographs taken by Zingg, documenting the annual ceremonial and agricultural cycles and many of the collected objects in use.


Melissa S. Powell is a former curator of archaeology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology and editor of Secrets of Casas Grandes: Pre-Columbian Art & Archaeology of Northern Mexico (Museum of New Mexico Press).

C. Jill Grady is an anthropologist and curator and serves on the board of the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival and Traditional Arts.


"An indispensable reference work for the collector or researcher, laden with feast-your-eyes photographs of the superb artifacts collected by Robert M. Zingg, the first anthropologist to do extensive fieldwork (1934–35) among the Huichol, a Native American people of western Mexico. Despite their reputation for their art and an exaggerated notoriety for their use of peyote cactus in sacred rituals, the Huichol themselves have mostly remained a mystery. . . . Zingg's black-and-white photographs accompany contemporary images of the Huichol, illustrating what has changed (like using metal pots and pans) and how they evolved the commercial applications of their art. . . . The scholarship stands out, assiduously explaining Huichol belief systems, devotional arts, weavings, society, and culture."



"A beautiful full-color collection of images and studies of Huichol art and culture from the extensive Zingg collection housed at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe. Including views of yarn paintings, textiles, prayer arrows, votive gourd bowls, feather work, and beaded jewelry, as well as many sepia and black-and-white vintage field photographs of Huichol AmerIndians taken by Zingg and others. . . . In addition to the editors, contributors include Peter T. Furst, Stacy B. Schaefer, Hope MacLean, and Susanah Eger Valadez."


Midwest Book Review

Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

9 x 11 in. 176 pages 134 color and 70 black-and-white photographs