Woven fabrics reflect Paraguay’s native cultures
An exhibition in Asuncion of woven fabrics and traditional clothing of Paraguay’s native communities reflects the legacy of indigenous cultures.
The pieces on display at the El Cabildo Cultural Center are from the private collection of artist Lucy Yegros, who told EFE that the purpose of the exhibit is to reveal ways that indigenous peoples have influenced Paraguayan culture.
One item is a sash made by a community in the Chaco region of northwestern Paraguay, which is displayed in a canoe used by the natives for fishing, and whose geometric motifs led Yegros to study their significance.
The 78-year-old artist said that most of them are full of rhombs, whose significance, as someone from an indigenous community told her, is that “half the rhomb represents the woman and the other half the man,” who come together as one.
The blanket was a legacy from Yegros’ late husband, who got it from an indigenous man who helped the military officer recover from a gunshot wound received in the 1932-1935 Chaco War.
Among the exhibit’s central pieces are two statues made of wooden scraps that Yegros found “thrown away in the street,” and which represent an indigenous couple “dressed in some of the fabrics in her collection, along with necklaces and adornments fashioned from colorful feathers, which “for the native peoples have great significance.”
The collector noted the importance of preserving, not only the objects, but also the techniques for making them and the way they were used, because, though the indigenous peoples “once made precious things, they are now turning out some pretty commercial stuff” for tourists.
Yegros said she didn’t know exactly how many objects she has in her collection, but added that in 2019 she plans to make a book that compiles all the woven fabrics she has with an explanation of the origin and history of each.