the multi-tiered cosmos series

These articles are brief investigations on the ubiquitous belief in the weaver as shaman or, at the very least, textiles as a reflection of an ideology based on a neurologically-generated tiered cosmos.

These are not meant to be scholarly treatises. Hopefully someone, maybe me, will elaborate further on these ideas.  If anyone would like me to explore a different textile, please post in the comments section below.

Note on my perspective: The human propensity to create and appreciate art is generated by a rudimentary navigation program in the optic system, shared by all ambulatory animals. This is comprised of the ability to recognize and differentiate between lines and spaces, basically. Humans also have a propensity for altered states of consciousness (ASC). ASC is commonly experienced in stages and interpreted as traveling between various cosmic realms (earthly realm, spirit realm, etc.).

The ASC journey of the shaman/artist is shared with the community via art. Together, art and ASC are advantageous to our species in that they form the basis for an ideology that facilitates social cohesion. Art derived from ASC reflects the experience of a multi-tiered cosmos, the central element of shamanism and most, if not all, world religions.

I look at rock art, portable art, and now textile art from that perspective. 

I do not suggest that the producers of the textiles in question are shamans or that they experienced ASC and then depict their visions on the cloth. I am merely looking at the possible origins of traditional motifs and designs in order to find possible links with ASC. If the artwork seems to reflect ASC, I will then take certain other aspects of the textiles into consideration, such as their uses and any behaviours connected with their production, as corroborating evidence. I don't look at technique, iconographic context, or thematic consistency as a textile expert would. That, I feel, does not relate to my particular objective.

Here is my list of criteria:
  • A relationship between the creation of the artwork and an induction method to ASC;
  • Depictions of imagery from the 3 stages of ASC on the artwork;
  • Depictions of various cosmic realms on the artwork, including
  • world of the living
  • world of the dead
  • passage or tunnel (In many (or most) cases, the tunnel should be accessible only to the shaman/celebrant and the decedent, as it may considered too risky for laypeople to make the journey; and
  • Cultural beliefs and practices surrounding the production of textiles reflecting the different cosmic realms;
  • Cultural beliefs and practices surrounding the use of the textiles reflecting the different cosmic realms (an association with death, healing, etc.). 
Caveat: All this is open to debate. I'm just condensing it here and presenting my own beliefs (based on personal research and field work). 

No comments:

Post a Comment