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Tzintzuntzin: awakened by dream

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Tzintzuntzin: awakened by dream

Artist: Judy Tuwaletstiwa (American, born 1941)
Date: 2007
Medium: Hummingbird feathers, skeleton, wing, and nest, graphite, ash on paper
Dimensions:
Support (each): 9 x 9 in. (22.9 x 22.9 cm)
Frame (Plexi Case (each)): 12 5/8 x 22 3/8 x 2 1/2 in. (32.1 x 56.8 x 6.4 cm)
Classification: Assemblage
Credit Line: Gift of Jean Norelli, 2013
Keywords and Associated Locations:
Object number: 2013.2a-g
Description
Judy Tuwaletstiwa’s tzintzuntzun is a meditation on death and regeneration, a theme the artist has focused on in much of her work. She found the hummingbird nest and remains near her studio and, wishing to honor the beauty, strength, and fragility, she sought to “bring them back to life” in her own way. The hummingbird is a powerful symbol in many cultures, whether as a courier, provider of food or rain, warrior, or symbol of resurrection or purification. The hummingbird is found only in the Western hemisphere, so it is particularly important to native cultures. The title, tzintzuntzun, is an indigenous Mexican word that mimics the sound of a hummingbird’s wings. The hummingbird is protected by the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which ensures the conservation of birds and their habitats. This law was initiated in response to the growing threat by the early 20th century to birds by the commercial trade in birds and feathers. This law and its associated treaties with Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia reflected the emerging concern with issues of wildlife conservation. It was this same awareness that prompted the founding of the National Audubon Society in this same era (1905) in response to the specific threat to great egrets, whose feathers were popular in fashion accessories. The MBTA prohibits the hunting, killing, possession, sale, 
or import / export of more than 1,000 species 
of migratory birds, their feathers, eggs, and nests. A list of protected species is available on the US Fish & Wildlife Service website. The museum holds this artwork in its permanent collection and exhibits it by permit from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
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