This is a traditional Shipibo textile known as 'chitonti' made with natural cotton, grown and woven themselves. The weaving and embroidery process (all with natural pigmented thread) can last up to three months. This particular piece is made by one of the last remaining 'chitonti' makers, Pekon Rabi. To learn more about the artist, Shipibo culture and the artistic process being this work, please see our special report 'Lines of Life' here.
The Shipibo are distinguished by their extensive knowledge of medicinal plants and their beautiful craftwork traditions in ceramics and textiles. Their textiles, which are also known as ‘telas’ are a central pillar of their culture and have been recognised by the Peruvian State as ‘Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación’ (National Cultural Heritage).
Size: 135cm x 65cm.
The patterns woven into their telas are said to represent the geometric structures seen whilst working with Ayahuasca. The patterns are an ongoing dialogue or communion with the spiritual world and powers of the rainforest. Shipibo art interprets these paradigms and visions into a physical form. The ethnologist Angelika Gebhart-Sayer, calls this: “Visual Music”.
It is important to understand that these designs not only serve the purpose of ornamentation and decoration, they represent an entire communication system with plant spirits. As well as coming from the imagination of the individual, each piece is based on the collective consciousness of the whole Shipibo tribe.