The Dismemberment of Tacutsi Nakawé

The Dismemberment of Tacutsi Nakawe - José Benítez Sánchez, 1973

The Huichol call her Tacutsi, Our Great Grandmother, because she is one of the primordial forces of creation, and as Nakawé, Hollow-Ear, because of her oracular insight that allowed her to foresee the flood that destroyed the previous Underworld. She represents the incubating power of the womb, growth and change, reorganization and fertility. She engendered Our Mothers of Rain and Corn. When she finished her labors, her own body expanded, breaking to pieces. From each part of her body, new plants and animals were formed to feed our life.

Around her skeleton are scattered her jawbones (on either side of her skull), her arms (to the left) and two teeth (lower left corner). Her brains are on top of her skull between her hairs. Her tongue is to the left of her chin. Her eyes have left their sockets (top right). Above her eyes is her artery. Below it (from left to right) are her pink-red skin, her tendons, and her loin. Her heart, liver and respiratory system are at lower right. Below her torso are her bladder, two kidneys, two pieces of marrow, her sexual organs, her digestive tract and her anal tract. At top left, four objects represent her breasts and flesh from her back. Her spleen and a white eyebrow are below.

Explanation and Interpretation by Juan Negrín based on a tape recorded conversation with the artist. Copyright ©Juan Negrín, All rights reserved digital and print.

Photograph ©Lloyd Patrick Baker

José Benítez Sánchez

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Wool yarn pressed into pure beeswax spread on plywood with wood frame