Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pachamama, the Earth Mother

From earliest times different cultures have revered a mother figure as representing the spirit of the earth, creativity, fertility and earth itself. Several years ago on a visit to Mexico City I visited the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe and learned that Guadalupe, a vision of the Virgin Mary, was perceived by the indigenous people of Mexico to be the embodiment of the Aztec Earth Mother, Coatlaxopeuh. This gave her acceptance among the population and made possible the acceptance of Catholicism in Mexico. The earth mother figure of the Andean cultures of South America is Pachamama. During the Spanish occupation of South America and the resulting forced conversion to Catholicism, the Virgin Mary was similarly accepted as a representation of the Pachamam by the indigneous people.


In researching Earth Mother figures I found that many times the Earth mother is depicted as young and  vital. In my mind I see the Earth Mother as ancient, wise, patient and benevolent, gently cradling the earth in her strong hands.


When I started thinking about this piece I pictured something more colorful and joyful, with a lot of flowers and greenery around a smiling mother figure. As it developed it seemed to want to be more somber. She has concerns for her children, I suppose.

13 comments:

Deborah Boschert said...

Beautiful, Terry! I love the stitching in the sky background. I can imagine all kinds of stories and symbolism there. I also love the variety of skin tones you used for Earth Mother's face. So many pieces! I can imagine that was a long process creating all the details. The hands too!

Hooray for beautiful gray hair!

Diane Perin Hock said...

This woman has such a wise, calm, accepting gaze. I think you've created a perfect Earth Mother image, that has more spiritual weight (at least for me) than a smiling woman among flowers would have done. It's beautifully done, with your usual excellent fabric and pattern choices. The hair is fabulous! I really like your sky background stitching too.

Anonymous said...

Well, I love it...she is beautiful ! Beth

Helen Conway said...

I was suprised you said she was sombre. To me she is wise and giving and at peace with herself.

Gerrie said...

And she is wise and caring when you see her up close and personal, as I did this morning. You really need to see this up close to check out the things Terry has quilted in the sky. They are sort of constellations of earthly things. I told Terry that I loved that she had chosen a wizened woman for this.

Kristin L said...

Oh, she's wonderful! I think she is the very best portrait you have created. I love that the facial fabrics are so obviously patterned. I too think that Mother Earth should be older and wise. Earth has experienced far too much to be a cheerful maiden! You have done a fantastic job with this piece. I can see her taking part in other shows or venues beyond 12x12 too -- things with an earth-centric theme or message.

Karen Rips said...

You are right Terry, she seems very concerned and somber, maybe a little worn out. What a remarkable face she has

Brenda Gael Smith said...

What a wise looking woman! I can just imagine her insome isolated backwater, tending her garden and chickens with valuable insights for all that take the time to listen.

Terri Stegmiller said...

I actually the way your Earth mother turned out is perfect. I think it would be my vision of her. I have really come to love all your stitched background symbols and shapes.

Del said...

Oh, my - that hair, that face, that coat, that background - you do such wonderful pieces. Congratulations on another winner.

Marilyn Wall said...

Terry, I wish I could think of something different to say but all the comments have said it already. This is truly a wonderful piece.

Françoise said...

I don't think she looks somber. She's serene and calm, maybe a little tired as most mothers of large families.
The background is just fabulous.

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

I think she is mystical, wise and caring. The symbols in the background are great.