Textiles and Altar Cloths

Katherine Skaggs is honored to share handmade textiles and altar cloths, also known as Song Cloths, from the Shipibo Conibo indigenous tribe of the Ucayali tributary of the Amazon river outside of Puculpa, Peru. Their textiles and altar cloths are a visual representation and weaving of the sacred songs and healing energy of nature.

The medicine of the plants and the animals sing through the imagery to bring not only beauty, but vibrational healing wherever they hang, or are on altars, and even woven into clothing. The shamans there will tell you that you are born as a song, as is every living creation. These song cloths have their own specific meaning and healing energy.

The Shipibo are known for labyrinthine geometric designs that reflect their culture and their cosmology.  Other symbols featured in the designs are the Cosmic Serpent, the Anaconda and various plant forms, notably the caapi vine used in the preparation of the sacramental drug Ayahuasca.  There is an intriguing tie between the visual and aural in Shipibo art:  “the Shipibo can listen to a song or chant by looking at the designs, and inversely paint a pattern by listening to a song…”*

The truly psychedelic color combinations are consistent with ayahuasca visions. More often than not the designs are asymmetrical within a border or frame – like a landscape viewed through an airplane window:  “Although in our cultural paradigm we perceive that the geometric patterns are bound within the border of the textile or ceramic vessel, to the Shipibo the patterns extend far beyond these borders and permeate the entire world.”*

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