Dance of the Old Men - by Cristina Barriga
These stunning pillow cases are created by different women from a collective in Santa Cruz, which is located in the P'urepecha Plateau of Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico. The P'urepecha of this region create incredible handicrafts, including these lovely scenes that are hand embroidered onto tapestries, pillow cases, tea towels, clothing, rebozos, purses and change purses. Depicting rural lifestyle, the themes vary from Butterfly Fishermen on Lake Patzcuaro, illustrations of cemeteries during Dia de Muertos, life on the ranch, and many dances, including the Dance of the Fish, Dance of the Bull and the Dance of the Old Men.
This pillow case shows Dance of the Old Men, or Danza de los Viejitos. This is a very famous P'urepecha traditional dance, performed all over the Highlands of Michoacan.
The P'urepecha men who perform this dance are known as "Danzantes" or "Dancers." As is common among Indigenous peoples of the America's, the number four is sacred - and this dance includes four male dancers who represent the four elements, Earth, Fire, Air and Water. It is also believed the four dancers represent the varieties of corn here, which are red, white, yellow and blue. The dancers pray for a bountiful harvest, and to be informed about the past - and predict the future.