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Jr. Aguaytia
Pucallpa, Ucayali

Paoyan 1, Tela #1

Telas from Paoyan

Poayan is a relatively remote Shipibo community that we at Alianza Arkana owe a huge amount to. It is home to the Mahua family, who embody a strong ancestry of some of the most knowledgeable and skilled Shipibo healers. Some close relatives of these healers are featured individually in this shop.

Fairness is hugely important in Shipibo culture. Healers who work with foreigners can all too often attract jealousy due to their income and the level of care for their family that these relationships can attract. In Poayan, there are few opportunities to earn an income due to its distance from the city. More and more families are being forced to migrate to Pucallpa to support a life that increasingly requires money.

Many Shipibo, in more remote communities, are still able to live in abundance from nature - though Poayan, and many other communities, now suffer from harsh floods for 3 months of every year due to climate change and large-scale agriculture up river. They are therefore no longer able to grow many staple foods and increasingly need money to bring foods in from the city, a twelve-hour boat ride away.

By supporting the incredible artwork of the women of Poayan, who are not part of the immediate Mahua family, and therefore do not have the same opportunity to trade their work, we are aiming to re establish a level of fairness and trust within this community, and help numerous families with their income.

Paoyan 1, Tela #1

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Paoyan 1, Tela #1

195.00 220.00

This unique, rich, earth-toned tela was created using a thicker cotton material that gives this piece extraordinary dimension. 

This is an exceptional piece, which was one of the best pieces we bought in a recent community market when we visited Paoyan.

The patterns of the design are highly traditional and are known as maya kené as they are more enclosed shapes. It is said, too, that the designs represent the icaros, the traditional healing songs that the Shipibo shaman sing in ceremony.

The Shipibo designs are traditionally carried out on natural un-dyed cotton (which they often grow themselves) or on cotton dyed in mahogany bark (usually three or four times) which gives the distinctive brown colour. They paint either using a pointed piece of chonta (bamboo) or an iron nail with the juice of the crushed Huito (Genipa americana) berry fruits which turns into a blue- brown-black dye once exposed to air.

Each of the designs are unique, even the very small pieces, and they cannot be commercially or mass produced. 

Handmade by Shipibo women

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Dimensions: 154 cm x 63 cm

Hand wash, cold

Use mild detergent only

Do not dry in the sun (colour could fade)

Do Not Tumble Dry

Cool Iron