Pauline Mason

Nahual Otomi embroidery


Nahual's textiles feature hand-made embroidery by the Otomi – the original inhabitants of central Mexico. Inspired by ancestral dress and amate (a sacred bark-paper art practised by Otomi shamans), and influenced by cave paintings and a belief in nagualism (whereby people transform, spiritually or physically, into animals), this exquisite embroidery emerged in its present form in the 1960s. Merging everyday and mythical depictions of fauna and flora in saturated colors and delightful designs, the textiles evoke the spirit of Mexican magical realism in a vibrant combination of Otomí traditions and contemporary artistic practice.

Nahual, based in Puebla, Mexico, works with Otomi embroiderers in the Sierra Madre Oriental. The project is coordinated in the US in Brooklyn, by Pauline Mason; a long-time lover of bordado mexicana. Following fair-trade principals, we foster traditional techniques to promote Otomi cultural heritage.