In the Words of the Zenú:
"Weaving and Sharing our Zenú Artisan Heritage
Mother Earth gives us the Arrow Cane, Caña Flecha, which is the raw material with which we Zenúes have built and maintained the past, the present and the future of our people.
In the intertwining of the fiber, history has been woven…songs, legends, myths, stories, beliefs, games, first words, first steps, customs, rules…braids made a thousand times…taught by grandparents to parents, from the parents to children, generation to generation.
The fabric is part of our history, our identity. It is inherent to our culture. The geometric patterns depicted by the Pintas on our fabric serve to distinguish elements of nature. They are the stamp that is our legacy from our ancestors."
Translation by Aboriginal Arts, LLC
Zenú Indian woven products in caña flecha (arrow cane), the sombrero vueltiao in particular, are decorated with interwoven "pintas." Traditionally, pintas served as mnemonic devices; they recorded Zenú Indian history, including records of experiences, observations and beliefs. Some pintas are totemic elements, identifying the family or clan that makes it. While the knowledge of the weaving process for crafting many of the traditional pintas has been lost, some 82 of them are yet made by the current generation of Zenú artisans.
Gallery of Zenú Pintas
There are several categories of Pintas, including animals, objects, plants, constellations, music and dance, persons, religion and customs. The "face," or image, shown in each Pinta may reference a practice, song, legend, myth, story, belief, game, discovery, custom or rule. For example, The Mojarra, which depicts a fish, encapsulates childhood memories of fishing in the streams for mojarra (talapia), and the knowledge of this activity.
Each of the following transitional photographs "morph" between a Zenú pinta and its real-world counterpart. Click on a Pinta for a larger rendering, and more information. For faster loading subsequently, use the "next" or "previous" buttons to move between Pintas.