College of Communications and Fine Arts Art Museum of the University of Memphis
artifact
Magic Screenfold Book (August 10, 1978) Alfonso Garcia Tellez, Otomí People, San Pablito, Puebla, Mexico Fig tree bark paper, glue, and ink Arte Vivo: Living Traditions in Mexican Folk Art and Southern Arts Federation 1984.004.006

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The religious practices of the Otomí people of Mexico frequently involve the use of paper figures called nzahki that represent various deities. Cut out by a village shaman during a special ceremony, the nzahki are burnt as offerings to beneficial spirits and to drive away evil. Nzahki are sometimes glued into books as a method of preserving the stories and traditions of the Otomí culture and include representations of both good spirits, such as Madre Tierra (Mother Earth), and evil spirits, such as Señor de Diablo (Mr. Devil).


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Last Updated: 11/30/12