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Native Crafts NA03

Primitive Painting

Traditional cloth, mastate (pounded bark fiber cloth) with painted designs using natural dyes.  Such material was used by most tribes in lower Central America for clothing and bedding material. The fiber is created by removing the inner lining of bark fiber from the balsa wood tree, which is then pounded, soaked and dried. The Ngobe-Buglé (Guaymí) have not forgotten how to create this cloth and are now creating primitive paintings, applying natural dye colours to the light hued cloth, depicting their natural surroundings, life ways, history and esoteric symbols. This particular work narrates a scene including a coastal backdrop, a nearby settlement, and Ngobe-Buglé spiritual specialists in a ceremony maybe to propitiate good fishing. Wind and tidal symbolism surrounds the central secen. Beautifully mounted and framed.

  • Tribe: Ngöbe
  • Location: Southern Costa Rica
  • Size: 19 3/4″ x 20 1/4″ (50 cm x 51.25cm
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