Huichol Indian Art


I spent a lot of time last night organizing my notes and links on Huichol huichol_jimenez2Indian art.  It took a lot of time, because of course I got distracted by other fascinating lesson plans and resources on the internet while I was searching for the links and site to use in my post!

I think that there is a lot of potential for using Mexican culture and art to teach Language Arts – not only to ELLs but to mainstream classes (many of which are populated by Latino students…).  But, hey – you don’t have to be Latino to be fascinated by other cultures and interested in art and imagination.  Gosh, I hope not, anyway!

As I was going through my files, the first thing that caught my attention was the excellent set of lesson plans created by Target and Scholastic Magazine in cooperation with the National Museum of Mexican Art.  It is called “Dream in Color” and is an amazing resource for teachers.  There you will find samples of art, a map of Huichol country, a history of the Huichol people, and a three page reference chart of Huichol symbolism.  Outstanding!

I am not going to go into a lot of detail of who the Huichol Indians are, because these resources explain it all.  They live in the hills throughout  northwestern Mexico.  You may have seen yarn paintings and beaded masks and bowls made by them.  They are also the people who brought us ojos de dios (God’s Eyes) – a staple of elementary school crafts programs.  You may have also heard that they consume peyote, a psychedelic cactus, but I think that this can be downplayed and should NOT be a reason to avoid teaching about this culture.

Huichol Ceremonial Rattle

Huichol Ceremonial Rattle

First, here are links to basic lesson plans on Huichol Yarn and Bead Painting. (Dick Blick has many lesson plans to choose from and they are available directly on their site, or in PDF format.)

Here are some links with general information on the Huichol Indians and their history and culture.

Here are some online photo galleries of Huichol Art – awesome examples!

In case you were not aware – most Huichol yarn paintings tell a story.  While it is possible that some of these visions were induces by peyote, it is also valid that these could also be depictions of dreams and tribal stories.  Whenever you purchase a large enough yarn painting, the narrative by the artist is usually attached to the back.

Artes de Mexico is a periodical published in Mexico with beautiful illustrations – the issue on Huichol Art is definitely worth having – I bought mine in Morelia for only $18 and they are sometimes offered on E-Bay.  Here is a link to one you can buy on for $30.

Here is a list of children’s books – ,many are illustrated with Huichol Art:

Finally, a word about design – the Mexican designer team of Pineda-Covalin have included Huichol Art in their length line of fabric and clothing. You will need to go to the site, and look at the flash catalog.  Awesome!


6 responses »

  1. hello – the museum of indian arts and culture in santa fe will be holding a major exhibition of huichol works from the museum’s holdings of more than 650 pieces opening april 10, 2010 – the exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue – would you like to receive more information about this exhibition?
    thank you
    steve cantrell

  2. This brand new website is from the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival, a non-profit organization dedicated to archival preservation of the Huichol culture and many social and educational programs that help to sustain the Huichol people. There are many wonderful activities for children on the site, including coloring pages, a symbol dictionary and free downloads of Huichol language alphabet and number books for kids to learn from and color. A spanish version of this site can be found at

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