Shipibo Kené beaded necklace (pair)

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Handwoven with glass beads and natural seeds.
$ 130.00 USD
$ 130.00 USD
Buy now

Kené (meaning ‘design’, ‘enclosure’ and ‘path’,) is a type of artistic expression performed mostly by women from the Shipibo-Konibo community. According to Shipibo-Konibo narratives, women learned how to create their own designs by copying them from the body of a divine woman known as ‘Inka’: a concept which in Shipibo-Konibo language means ‘celestial’. The art of Kené expresses both the symmetry and asymmetry of the cosmic order, passing from the invisible to the visible world. To uncover this immaterial world covered by the Kené, it is needed to establish contact through the form of ritual.

Kené would be applied to all artefacts like clothing, ceramics, utensils, or the wooden posts of houses. During parties, people would usually paint their faces with Kené, and the men would have their arms covered and smoke tobacco with pipes decorated with Kené.

The patterns are an ongoing dialogue with the spiritual world and the powers of the rainforest, the rivers and the skies. The designs thus not only serve the purpose of ornamentation and decoration, they represent an entire communication system with plant spirits. While each piece is coming from the imagination of the individual, they are also based on the collective consciousness of the whole Shipibo tribe.

Dimensions (approximate):

black 18cm x 7cm, 24cm (neck drop)

red 17cm x 7cm, 24cm (neck drop)


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Shipibo-Konibo

The Shipibo-Konibo have a rich and complex cosmology which have inspired their artistic traditions, notably in their ceramics and textiles. They are animists, and to them animals, vegetation, and non-biological beings have spirits, just as humans have two modes: material and spiritual.

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CERAMICS

The Shipibo-Konibo produce some of the finest pottery in the world. Made by women, the ceramics are adorned with hand-painted designs that are interpretations of their cosmic beliefs. By transforming the clay paste into a strong and solid material, the women can create large, thin, coil-built ceramics. The Panduro family, one of the few Shipibo-Konibo families that maintain the ancestral techniques of working with ceramic, continue their knowledge and the transmission of this art form. Creating their pieces in a traditional way, using natural materials and dyes and setting them on the open fire. Video of the process here.

JEWELRY
TEXTILES

The Shipibo-Konibo are distinguished by their extensive knowledge of medicinal plants. Their textiles are a central pillar of their culture and have been recognized by the Peruvian State as ‘Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación’. Kené is a type of artistic expression performed mostly by the women from the community. The art of Kené expresses both the symmetry and asymmetry of the cosmic order, passing from the invisible to the visible world. Practitioners acquire visions of Kené through the ritual use of powerful plants like ayahuasca, waste, and rao. Behavioral and dietary restrictions are also practiced. Women artists learn to see designs in their ‘xinan’, their thoughts. Men may also see designs, but this usually takes place during shamanic sessions. These designs not only serve the purpose of ornamentation, they represent an entire communication system with plant spirits. In addition, they come from the imagination of the individual, each piece based on the collective consciousness of the whole Shipibo-Konibo ethnic.

NATURAL DYES  

The Shipibo-Konibo have utilised plant and earth based materials to produce natural pigments for generations. While the use of black and brown pigments is still relatively common, other pigments are used less frequently and have in many cases been replaced by acrylic paints. Supporting the maintenance and use of these practices provides an ongoing connection to traditional plant knowledge.

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