III. DISCOVERING THE CULTURE OF THE MIXTEC (ÑUU SAVI) THROUGH ARTIFACTS & PHOTOS OBJECTIVES Students will: -Learn about Mixtec ways of life and the geography and resources of Oaxaca‟s Mixteca region. -Practice observation and deduction skills. -Learn there are many ways to satisfy the same basic, human needs and see their own lifestyle in the context of diversity in the world, i.e., similar in some respects to other cultures, distinct in others. MATERIALS • A globe, map of the world (not included) • Color, poster-size, laminated map “La Diversidad Cultural de México” (Mexico‟s Cultural Diversity) located in the Mixtec Cultural Discovery Box • Blackline maps of Mexico, the state of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca regions (in this section, immediately following this lesson) • Artifacts contained in the Mixtec Cultural Discovery Box • Photos and visuals (or the use of PowerPoint representations) from section IV in this binder • Copies of the World Culture Model (reproducible version follows the maps in this section) – optional • Flip chart or butcher paper and pens for recording SUGGESTED PROCEDURE Note: Ideally the teacher or activity leader will familiarize him/herself with the information contained in section II: A Brief Overview of the Mixteca and the Mixtecs of this binder. TIME REQUIRED As described here, this unit could require 2-3 standard 50-minute instructional periods to complete. This can be shortened by selecting a smaller number of artifacts for investigation. We recommend choosing 1 artifact from numbers 1, 2, & 3; 1 artifact from numbers 3, 4, and 6; artifact # 14; either artifact #11 or # 12; artifact # 13 and artifact # 15. A. Introduce the lesson: Show the color, poster-size, laminated, map, “La Diversidad Cultural de México” (Mexico‟s Cultural Diversity.) Mexico‟s native (i.e. indigenous or Indian, as opposed to mestizo, European or other) population is highly diverse. Mexico has 62 indigenous groups that still speak thie own distinct languages today. Only India – with 65 living indigenous languages – has more. Some Mexican Indigenous languages have 50 or more dialects. The Nahuatl and the Maya are Mexico‟s largest indigenous populations; the Mixtec are the third largest of Mexico‟s native peoples. The Mixtec, who live mostly in the state of Oaxaca [wa – ha – ca], have provided the artifacts in this Cultural Discovery Box so that we can learn about their culture and life in the Mixteca, their homeland. Most Mixtecs still live in Oaxaca, but many thousands of them – mostly men, but also women and children – migrate to the United States to find work in agriculture. B. Setting the geographic context: Locate Mexico on a globe or map. Demonstrate its proximity to the United States. Refer to the blackline map of Mexico (located in the binder immediately behind this activity). Mexico has about 103,000,000 people. How does that compare to the population of the United States? Point out Mexico City, the capital of the country, and the state of Oaxaca, southeast of Mexico City. Next, examine the blackline maps of the Mixteca regions of Oaxaca: the Mixteca Alta, Mixteca Baja, and the Mixteca de la Costa. In their own language, the Mixtec call themselves, “Ñuu Savi” – “The people of the rain.” What might this name tell us about them? (E.g. Where do you think they live? What is the climate like? What kind of relationship might they have with nature?) C. Generating hypotheses from cultural artifacts: Just as an archeologists or a museum curator learns about a culture by carefully examining its cultural objects, or “artifacts,” we are going to try to learn about Mixtec life by examining these artifacts from their culture. Before we begin, what is one of the most important things archeologists or curators must remember? (“They must handle each artifact very carefully.”) 1. Divide the class into small groups. Each group should select a recorder and a reporter. Give the following instructions: Each group will be given an artifact to examine. Your purpose is to determine as much as you can about the Mixtecs, their daily life, and the area where they live by carefully studying your artifact. As a group, discuss the questions on the worksheet; the group recorder is responsible for writing down your conclusions and the reporter will share them with the larger group. Remember, handle each item with care! Questions on the Mixtec Artifact Worksheet: 1. What is this object made from? 2. How was it made? 3. How do you think this object is used? (What is it?) 4. Who uses it? 5. What does this object tell you about the geography or climate where the Mixtec live? 6. What does this object reveal about how the Mixtec live, work, or have fun? What, if anything, does it tell you about their values and beliefs? 7. Can you compare this artifact to anything in your life? What? 2. Distribute one artifact and a copy of the “Mixtec Artifact Worksheet” to each group. Allow groups 15 minutes to work on their task. D. Testing our hypotheses (Note: The debriefing of artifact discovery is structured around the World Cultures Model described in Section I: Introduction. Instructions may choose to reproduce copies of the model for reference during the discussion.) Solicit feedback on the artifacts, following the procedure and sequence indicated: * THE INFLUENCE OF GEOGRAPHY ON MIXTEC CULTURES ► Have all groups share their answers to Question #6 on the worksheet. Why, how did you draw those conclusions? ► Share photos #1, #2 and #3. What kind of terrain is this? What season do you think it is? What do you think the climate is like? Note the child‟s warm clothing in photo #2: Is this due to the season or elevation? If the Mixtec call themselves, “the People of the Rain,” why is everything so brown? [Answers: 1) The photo of the child was taken in late October, so his clothing is due to both the season and the highland elevation where he lives. 2) The Mixteca receives an abudance of rain, even to the point of flooding, during its rainy season – late spring through early fall. Nevertheless, it is unpredictable and long, dry spells can occur.] ► Ask groups to share their artifacts and responses to the worksheet questions, as follows: a. The importance of CORN and CORN CULTIVATION in Mixtec culture. The Mixtec continue to identify very closely with their land and their plots of corn. 1. Corn planting hoe / yata ki‟vi itu / yata chi‟i tata / -(THIS ITEM HAS BEEN PERMANENTLY SEALED FOR YOUR PROTECTION. CAUTION! THIS ITEM HAS A SHARP CUTTING EDGE AND SHOULD NOT BE HANDLED BY CHILDREN!) According to project sources, this is the traditional corn planting tool used by Miextec men. Also referred to in Spanish as a coa (hoe) or pala para sembrar (planting shovel), this piece would be outfitted with a stick of sufficient length to comfortably serve as a handle and for leverage. These pieces are fashioned individually so there are variation in their size and shape. The blade has been filed, by hand, to give it a sharper edge. 2. Grinding stone / nta‟a yoso / nda‟a yodo / -This elongated, rolling pin-like stone called a mano (hand) in Spanish is used to grind corn to prepare the masa (dough) for tortillas, a staple of the Mexican diet. It is used with a volcanic, rectangular-shaped, largely flat mortar called a metate, as contrasted with the smaller, bowl-shaped molcajete used to grind chiles and other ingredients for salsas. Grinding corn in the home is typically a task for women. 3. Lime (calcium hydroxide) / yuu kaka tsa‟a / kaka nkee nuu ndaku / -(THIS ITEM HAS BEEN PERMANENTLY SEALED.) This soft, white rock is ground to a fine powder and used in preparing corn for tortillas or pozole (hominy soup.) The corn kernels are removed from the cob, then soaked and heated in a solution of slaked lime and water. (Unslaked lime – calcium oxide, a corrosive substance – must be slaked before using, i.e., added to water and allowed to boil and stand.) After the required length of time (depending on how the corn will be used), the kernels are thoroughly rinsed to removed the lime and then rubbed to remove the husks before the corn is ground. Lime contributes to the great taste and texture of tortillas (http://home.pacbell. net/macknet/nixtamal.html). ► Share photos #4, #5, #6, #7. What things relating to corn cultivation or consumption can you identify in these pictures? #4: a cornfield, #5: the woman has ground corn to prepare for the dough for tamales, #6: a woman forms tortillas and cooks them on the wood-fired stove, #7: The children are enjoying breakfast that includes freshly prepared tortillas. b. PALM and all the various products that can be woven from it have been a very important source of income for the Mixtecs. A woven palm hat is a mandatory part of the Mixtec males’ – and other Mexican males’ – dress. Mixtec hats are considered some of the finest made. The following three articles were selected for the Discovery box because, unlike an easily recognizable hat, they are less familiar to students in the US. 4. Cargo Basket / nto‟o staa/ tido ñuu / - A Mixtec “backpack,” these baskets are ubiquitous in the Mixteca, where women, generally, can be seen transporting items in them to/from the market or elsewhere during their daily routine. The strap is most commonly worn across the top of the head but can also be worn aroudn the neck and shoulders. These baskets, known generically as tenates in Spanish, come in all sizes, with and without carrying straps and are used for carrying and storing all types of things. Formerly all were woven from palm. While baskets woven of palm can still be found, those most frequently seen are made of colorful synthetic materials, like this one. The materials are very durable and, unlike palm, require no special care and are available to basket weavers the year round. 5. Sitting mat / yuvi/ yuu/ - This is a traditional Mixtec chair. In some parts of the Mixteca, a female visitor to a Mixtec home is invited to enter and “sit on the petate” (Spanish, generic for a palm mat? located near the entrance of the home. If the visitor is a man he will be asked to “take a seat on the bench” (fashioned from a tree trunk) in the interior of the home. (This is the custom in San Antonio Huitepec, the hometown of Juan Julián Caballero, a cultural informant for this project.) Mats are woven in different sizes. Larger ones are used to sleep on in rural areas throughout Mexico. 6. Small household broom / ña‟an kuu nuss tsio / tnuti „vi nuu iyo / - Another palm product, this is a small, all-purpose broom. It could be used in the kitchen to clean off table tops, the stove and its hearth (many stoves are wood burning) and other work spaces. ► Share photos #6, #7, #8, #13, #15: What woven items can you identify in these pictures? #6: A small fan woven of palm hangs on the back wall; #7: a variety of woven baskets- synthetic- hang in locations around the kitchen; #8: Women at the market carry synthetic woven baskets the traditional Mixtec way; #8 & #13: men wear or carry the mandatory palm hat; #15: a woven palm sleeping mat serves as the backdrop of this Day of Dead altar. Can you spot the woven palm baskety? c. Artifacts relating to FOOD AND DRINK 7. Cacao seeds /ntiki si‟va/di „va/ - (THIS ITEM HAS BEEN PERMANENTLY SEALED. THE TOP HAS BEEN PERFORTATED TO ALLOW YOU TO SMELL IT.) Cacao, which is indigenous to Mesoamerica, has been cultivated in Mexico since ancient times. Pre-Colombian Mexicans prepared a chocolate drink which they served in gourd bowls/cups just like the one included in this box (see photo). Cacao was so highly prized by the ancient Mexicans it was used as currency. These cacao seeds have been toasted, and once peeled, the pulp would be ready to grind with almonds and cinnamon, until liquid in texture, then ground a second time with sugar to make what we know as chocolate. Oaxaca is famous for its chocolate, which is routinely consumed as a breakfast or supper drink, made with water or milk. 8. Gourd cup/bowl/ yatsi/ yaji – One of two gourd items in this Discovery Box demonstrates the diverse ways Mixtecs find to use the same resource natural to their environment. This multipurpose cup/bowl can be used for drinking water or chocolate, measuring, etc. They can be decorated with carvings, like this one, or left plain. These cups are used in homes today and readily available at markets like the Friday market in Tlaxiaco, where this was purchased. It is interesting to note that in many Oaxacan restaurants today, hot chocolate is served in small bowls (although not gourds), rather than in cups with a handle. What do the carved designs reveal about the physical environment of the Mixteca? 9. Gourd water bottle cha‟a/cha ndute/ - One of the two gourd items in this Discovery Box demonstrating the diverse uses the Mixtecs find for resources natural to their environment. The gourd bottle, with its corncob stopper, can be used to store drinking water or mescal, an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of the agave plant. 10. Grasshoppers /tika tsatsi/ ti ka yi chi / - Grasshoppers are a commonly, infamously consumed food item in the state of Oaxaca. They have been eaten since pre- colombian times and are in fact a rich source of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), vitamins and minerals (http:www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen01/gen01234.htm). These are the larger variety; tiny red ones are hawked by street and market vendors throughout Oaxaca City. Tourist legend has it that if you eat a grasshopper, you will return to Oaxaca. Marcos Cruz Bautista, a Mixtec cultural informant for this project, said live grasshoppers are harvested in the early morning hours during October, November, and December when they congregated in piles in response to the cold temperatures. Recipe for Preparing Grasshoppers Provided by Marcos Cruz Bautista, San Juan Mixtepec Let collected grasshoppers sit for 24 hours to allow them to complete the digestion of the contents of their stomachs. Rinse the grasshoppers in water, then allow to drain. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the grasshoppers and salt them. Let marinate. Fry the grasshoppers in a non-stick frying pan over a low flame with a little oil or lard (for greater flavor) until they are golden. Serve the grasshoppers with fresh, hot tortillas and salsa. ►Share photos #9: What can you identify in this picture that relates to the food and drink artifacts we have discussed? ►Share photo #15: Can you find the gourd cups in this picture? * HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF THE MIXTEC 14. Page from Zouche-Nuttall Codex / tuttu in nuu kaa tu‟un tsana‟an / tutu yi na‟an / - This facsimile reproduction of page 45 of the Códice Zouche-Nutall, a Mixtec cdex, one of only a handful of Mexican codexes to survive the Spanish conquest. The codexes recount historical events and the genealogies of important families. This codex, named for Zelia Nuttall, a 19th century Mexican-American researcher specializing in ancient Mexico, is made of sixteen sheets of deerskin, attached one to another rendering a total length of about 37 feeet, hand painted on both sides by 14th century Mixtec scribes. This page relates someo of the exploits of the famous 11th century Mixtec warrior and ruler, 8 Venado, Garra de Jaguar (8 Deer, Jaguar‟s Paw), who united the Mixtec peoples. The following is the English translation of an interpretation of the page found in Crónica Mixteca: el rey 8 Venado, Garra de Jaguar, la dinastía de Teozacualco-Zaachila by Ferdinand Anders, Maarten Jansen, Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez. (Mexico City, Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1992, pp. 188-189.) Used with permission of the Centro Mexicano de Protección y Fomento de los Derechos de Autor. The text flows from right to left. The numbers below correspond to the numbers on the blackline master of the Codex page which can be found in this section, behind the maps and World Cultures Model. “The military campaign waged on. 1 Río al Pie del Cerro de Tres Pezuñas1 was conquered on day 2 Flor2. 2 Sagrario del Espejo3 was conquered on day 13 Movimiento4. 3 Lugar de la Lluvia5 was conquered on day 7 Lagartija6. Its temples were destroyed and burned. 4 During a retreat inside a cave, Lord 8 Venado, Garra de Jaguar7, wearing the black ointment of a priest, outfitted in his tiger dress and sitting on a stone, 5 spoke with Lord 7 Zopilote, Barba Roja8, who advised him and showed him respect. 6 A dark rodent came to his assistance there, and brought him the jaguar paws and the deer‟s hooves, strung on a cord [magical power over these amulets guaranteed victory] 7 Donning the jaguar paw as a glove, Lord 8 Venado played the ball game on day 3 Movimiento3 8 with Lord 6 Serpiente10, Cuauhtémoc, “The Eagle Who Falls,” a Toltec who had come from afar. This man had placed a deer‟s hoof upon his ear [the symbol for Mixcoatl, the god of hunters], and, acknowledging Lord 8 Venado‟s victory, he bestowed a jewel and the gaming belt on him. 9 A quail was given in offering on the stone palying field atop the rosette 10 where they drink pulque11, 11 in from of the Temple of the Sky 12 at Peña del Pájaro12 [Yucu dzaa in Mixteco, Tututepec in Nahuatl]. ________________ 1 River at the foot of Three Hooves Hill 2 2 Flower. The Mixtec calendar combined numbers 1 through 13 (for the individual days) with one of twenty calendar signs (roughly equivalent to months) to yield a date. The cycle had 260 (13 X 20) days. 3 Mirror Shrine 4 13 Movement 5 Rainy Place 6 7 Lizard 7 8 Deer, Jaguar‟s Paw. Mixtecs were given two names, the first denoted the calendar day of the person‟s birth (in this case 8 Venado), the second was a personal name (e.g. Garra de Jaguar), given to a child at age of 7. (See the Crónica Mixteca: el rey 8 Venado, Garra de Jaguar, y la dinastía de Teozacualco-Zaachila (Anders, Jansen and Pérez Jiménez), p. 184. 8 7 Buzzard, Red Chin 9 3 Movement 10 6 Serpent 11 fermented juice from the nopal cactus 12 Bird Crag Others who came to bestow gifts were 13 Toltec Lord 7 Serpiented, Coralillo Escamoso13, 14 the elderly Lord 1 Venado, Barbado, Oreja de Lagarto14” * MIXTEC VALUES AND BELIEFS 11. Incense burner (11a) / ko‟o ñu‟ma / ko‟o ñu‟un / With copal (11b) / sutsa vixi / dujie kutu / - Copal is a natural, incense-type stubstance made from the dried sap (resin) of the copal tree. Smoldering copal releases smoke and a mild pine scent. The green- glazed incense burner was made and purchased in Santa María Atzompa, a village on the outskirts of Oaxaca City famous for the shiny green glaze of its pottery. The burning of copal as part of religious ceremonies dates back to pre-colombian times; it has also become part of many Catholic ceremonies in Mexico. In the Mixteca copal burners can be observed in church services and religious precessions for the Days of the Dead (November 1, 2) and the feast days of patron saints. 12. Amulet bracelet / ntuchi nuu isu / nduchi nuu idu / - Hanging from the center of the bracelet is a seed called an ojo de venado in Spanish (“deer‟s eye”, scientific name Mucuna pruriens, also known as M. prurita.) It is reputed to have power to protect against mal de ojo (evil eye.) Hanging from the ojo de venado is a closed, plastic red fist, and adaptation of a “figa” or “fico” amulet of ancient Italian origin (http://www.rueskitchen.com/001265.html.) The figa, too, is supposed to protect against evil eye. Red, for good luck, is a dominant color on the bracelet while the yellow color of the amber-like beads offers protection against envy. This tiny bracelet is designed to be worn by a baby or small child, although it might also be hung from the rear view mirror of an automobile. Such amulets are popular all over Mexico. ► Share photos #13 & #14: Can you find the copal incense burners? 13. (Female) Child’s Skirt (13a) / xio ntikachi / diyo ti kachi, With belts – This rectangular lenght of black wool, woven fabric is a traditional child‟s skirt called a rollo or an enredo (in Spanish) by the Mixtec women who wear this style of dress. The front flap of the skirt opens on the left side, Scottish kilt style. The fabrick is folded in a specific fashion to form pleats so that the skirt hugs the waist, but allows the legs freedom of movement. The palm belt (13b) / tani / tnani / (sollate in Spanish) is tied around the top to hold the skirt in place. Finally, the colorful woven belt (13c) / sa’ma tani / yo’o diyo / is tied around the waist, covering the palm belt. The wool fabric is woven, by women, on a backstrap loom. A huipil, or highly embroidered boluse that slips over the head, is worn over the skirt. Traditional women‟s dress varies greatly (colors, fabrics, styles of embroidery, types of skirts, length of blouse) from one Mixtec village or town to another, and generally speaking, it is no longer routinely worn by women and girls. However, some first and second graders wore the traditional skirts and ___________________________________________________ 13 7 Serpent, Scaley Coral Snake 14 1Deer, Big Chin, Alligator‟s Ear blouses at the elementary school in Plan de Guadalupe, the Mixtec village near where this skirt was purchased. (See photos #30 & #33.) Traditional dress is very expensive now, and can easily cost more than $300 (US). ► Share photos #8 : These photos show regional variations among Mixtec women‟s and girl‟s skirts and blouses. Aesthetically pleasing are the baskets in photos #7 & #8, as well as the beautiful woven table cloth in photo #8. What things make the tombs and altar beautiful in photos #14 & #15? * SOCIAL ASPECTS OF MIXTEC CULTURE 15. MIXTEC GAME – The items in this mall container are used to play “Kasia,” a traditional Mixtec game, a combination of marbles and Frisbee. Each player (or team) gets two large skipping stones (15a). They also supply goodies to win – pecans (15b), tender shoots of sugar cane, and Brazil nuts (15c) are commonly used in the Mixteca. The goodies are laid out on a flat surface of about 7 feet in length. Players/teams take turns trying to make their stones skip across the tops of the goodies. They win each one their stone touches. Refer to section V: Extension Activities for a detailed explanation of how to play Kasia. ► Photos #17 & #18 show Mixtec children & adults palying games and having fun. School is an important part of socialization and social life for the Mixtecs, as it is all over the world (photos #16, #17, & #19.) The market (photo #8) is an excellent place to catch up with friends and interact with merchants. Religious observations (photos #13 & #14) are an extremely important part of Mixtec community and spiritual life. * ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF MIXTEC CULTURE What economic connections can you draw to the artifacts and photos you have seen? One very obvious one is photo # 8, the market place. Another is artifact #7 – cacao: in ancient times was valued so highly it was used as currency. What other evidence of economics is there? * EVIDENCE OF THE PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE Which photos and artifacts related to the past? [Photos #9, photo #10/artifact #14, photos #11 & #12.] All the rest of the photos and artifacts belong to the modern world. Which of these do you think will be different in the future? Why? E. Follow up Discussion: 1. What do we have in common with the Mixtecs? Record answers on the flipchart/butcher paper. 2. What are some of the differences between our two cultures? Record answers on the flipchart/butcher paper. 3. What more do you want to know about the Mixtecs? How can you find out? 4. If you were to create a Discovery Box from your culture, what would you include and why? F. Extension Follow up with one or more of the other activities in section V: Extension Activities: - Listen to traditional Mixtec Music on the accompanying CD. - Do the “World Culture Model Artifact Pass-Around” activity to explore how the different aspects of culture overlap and interact with one another. - Play the Mixtec game “Kasia.” - Investigate the meaning of they glyphs on page 45 from the Codex Zouche-Nuttall. - Lean how to write numbers as ancient Mixtec did. - Read the “The Animals Hold a Meeting” and discuss the cultural values and beliefs expressed in the story. - Learn some Mixtec words or phrases From “Japan Student Discovery Box,” Japan Project, Stanford Program in International and Cross-cultural Education (SPICE), modifications by ISTEP, 1994, 1989 and 2004 MIXTEC ARTIFACT WORKSHEET 1) What is this object made from? 2) How was it made? 3) How do you think this object is (was) used? (What is it?) 4) Who uses it? 5) What does this object tell you about the Mixteca region? A. B. C. D. E. 6) What does this object reveal about how the Mixtec live, work, or haven fun? What, if anything, does it tell you about their values and beliefs? A. B. C. D. E. 7) Can you compare this artifact to anything in your life? What?