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West Amazonian Artistic Traditions
The most well known west Amazonian artistic traditions are the Shipibo tradition of the Ucayali and the Shuar/Zaparo/Kichwa traditions of Pastaza (a tributary of the Ucayali). Shipibo art is characterized by geometric mazes. As multivalent symbols these mazes are said to represent several things at once. First they represent the peculiar branch structure of the ayahuasca vine. The drawing on the lower left by Pastaza artist Estela Dahua represents the ayahuaska runa as a man with arms and body in the shape of the ayahuasca vine. On either side are two banisteriopsis vines illustrating the peculiar branch structure. Because the branches end in a T shape the branch leading up to the T creates a “ dead end” creating a natural similarity between the ayahuasca vine and a maze. In the figure below right the same ayahuasca vine structure is portrayed in more abstract form on a ceramic vessel by the same Pastaza artist. In the Shipibo pattern above the the ayahuasca vine is portrayed in still more abstract form.
More about Ayahuasca
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