University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Past Special Exhibition at the Penn Museum

This exhibit features works of textile art of the Huichol Indians of Mexico. After ingesting the sacred peyote cactus, artists receive their visions and translate them into vibrant yarn paintings, now highly prized by collectors of folk art around the world. The popularity of this unique art form transcends cultural boundaries, and this exhibit helps us understand the world of its creators and their inspiration. By focusing on Penn Museum’s remarkable collection of 31 yarn paintings by José Benítez Sánchez, a leading Huichol artist in this medium, the exhibition sheds light on the rich heritage of the Huichol peoples. Brief informative texts, maps, and color photographs enhance the vibrant yarn paintings and provide museum audiences a rare glimpse into the complexities of the Huichol spiritual world.

José Benítez Sánchez, the featured artist, is also a practicing shaman. His yarn paintings are inspired by ancestral histories and religious motifs that live on through generations. As a shaman, he is obliged to perpetuate them through sacred ceremonies and in his artwork, where he translates his peyote-induced visions into a two-dimensional art form. These fleeting visions are of the Huichol world as it came into creation in a mystical natural environment that has no boundaries between the present and the ancestral past.



Currently Available

Gallery Space

Minimum 200 running feet

Venue Period

12 weeks. Every effort will be made to accommodate special requests from borrowers.


31 framed wall-ready yarn paintings.

Venues may alter the arrangement and number of images they exhibit. Piece labels, section captions, and text panel are provided in disc form in English and Spanish.

Public relations material will be provided prior to the opening of the exhibit. A hard cover book and exhibit-related merchandise are also available.

Speaker is available on request.


To be arranged by the Penn Museum. Venue is responsible for inbound shipping costs.


Covered by the Penn Museum.


Courier required. Qualified staff at borrowing institution will help in installation and deinstallation of the exhibition.


Facility report must be submitted for review before approval of loan.

Borrowing institutions must complete incoming and outgoing condition reports.

The borrower must adhere to temperature and light controls for this exhibit.


Traveling Exhibits Coordinator
(215) 746-6976
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