The Shipibo are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Peruvian Amazon. These ethnic groups each have their own languages, traditions and culture. The Shipibo, which currently number about 20.000, are spread out in communities through the Pucallpa - Ucayali river region. They are highly regarded in the Amazon as being masters of Ayahuasca. The Shipibo shamans use Ayahuasca to enter an altered state of consciousness that provides "vision" in nocturnal rituals, in the deep darkness of the resounding jungle night: they "travel" with the support of the "spirit of the Ayahuasca. In this state they have the power to heal. Their foremost healing tools are "Icaros", specific traditional songs that are recreated in the moment of treatment. With the help of these songs they penetrate the energetic pattern of a patient, comparable to a surgery tool, with the intention to clean and purify from harmful dark mist, or "níhue". (Rittner, 2006b, p.28). A proportion of the benefits will be made available to the village for the benefit of the community.
Shipibo artesans are well-known for depicting their Ayahuasca-based cosmology in the intricate designs of their pottery and colorful fabrics. We are pleased to feature genuine original Shipibo embroided art, inspired by their ancient relationship with Ayahuasca. Every single piece of work by Shipibo artisans is unique. All the textile painting, embroidery, and artisan craft is carried out by the women. From a young age the Shipibo females are initiated by their mothers and grandmothers into this practice. One Shipibo woman tells that "when I was a young girl, my mother squeezed drops of the Piri Piri (a species of Cyperus sp.) berries into my eyes so that I would have the vision for the designs; this is only done once and lasts a lifetime".
While I was in Iquitos in 2006, the materials listed in this category were among a total of 300 pieces of textile I bought from a group of 25 local Shipibo women. To give something back to the community from which they came, a portion of the money received for each Fabric, or downloadable pattern will go straight back to the woman who wove the original fabric. Each time we return to Iquitos we will then dispense the funds we've accumulated, before purchasing more of their best pieces of work. So by purchasing the original fabric or even a download of the image, you are contributing financially to the lives of the Shipibo women who created these beautiful pieces of textile art.