The Red That Colored The World | Sojourners

The Red That Colored The World

Exhibition, Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ground cochineal insects used for dye.

Darling of Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs, cochineal

conquered the ever-expanding world—

borne of female coccids boiled, dried, and ground

fine as dust, then woven with water, coaxing color

vibrant as any pink peppercorn, dye so prized,

long before Spain came, natives bred the prickly pear

on which the insects fed to bear fewer spines,

so, horsetail in hand, they could brush the parasites

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