The Puchteca

The Puchteca (Pre-Columbian Trader) The Proposal A Colossal Sculpture Commemorating Indigenous America -- with universal significance for our time The Concept When North and South America existed as a single land mass, separated only by a narrow isthmus (cut today by the Panama Canal), the evolving civilization of Indigenous America was tenuously united by pedestrian couriers of communication and commerce. They traversed a land without borders from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Arctic Circle to Patagonia, In North America, known by the Nahuatl word, puchteca, they carried trade goods from Guatemala into northern Arizona and beyond. They journeyed individually over established routes (or in relays from storehouses, such as historic Paquime in the Mexican state of Chihuahua) and passed with diplomatic immunity between warring tribes to establish a web of trade and ideas connecting diverse and distant social groups. The puchtecas created a link that was as crucial to the evolution of their society as it is little known to ours. The Statue We see him coming from a thousand miles to the south bearing his exotic burden gathered from jungles and southern seas upon his back. His colossal form leans into his destination with the swiftness and determination of a sailing ship. He steps over rivers and strides through the deserts of our borderlands bound for distant regions to the north. He passes with the wind and disappears in diminishing silhouette over the far horizon. He is the incarnation of the Americas before Columbus and one wonders how his civilization might have evolved without that impacting interruption. In the archives of archeology, and still scattered across the land, are the remnants of his activity and influence while the contributions of autonomous Indigenous America are now among the treasures of our world heritage. The Significance Somewhere along the US/Mexico border that divides both land and people, The Puchteca rises 250-feet above the desert floor. He is reinforced with steel and created from a modern industrial material that gathers the light of day to diffuse his forms at night in luminescence. He symbolizes a time before borders and presages a future when borders have dissolved to dust and the human race has consummated its final destiny as ONE PEOPLE UPON ONE PLANET…the true goal of developing society since individuals first congregated into tribes and tribes dissolved into city states and city states to nations. In the developing world crises of the 21st century this spiraling evolution towards one humanity is increasingly urgent to the survival of our species, to life in all its forms and to the preservation of our planet as a habitat for all life. The Puchteca is not a surreal exuberance of the imagination. Its creation would be a small accomplishment compared with the actual realizations of our time. But the power of art to dramatize a concept, to attract and stimulate the popular imagination and to inspire the vision of a people is well documented throughout history and this power can be harnessed to spotlight the greatest challenge our planet and its living dependents have ever known. The Icon The Puchteca rises from an architectural structure that is both monument base/Visitors’ Center. Inside, a Museum to the Indigenous Past of the Americas is integrated into an Exploratorium of the Future where the problems of our time are delineated and examined along with those actions that will either jeopardize or assure the well-being of our planet. Let us designate a few acres along the border between Mexico and the United States to create, not just an international, but a universal zone, where the Putcheca stands with one foot on either side of what was once an artificial boundary between nations, separating the People of Planet Earth from their rightful future. As a symbol of autonomous Indigenous America, The Puchteca is both an icon of the past and an intimation of what mankind must and shall become…if it will endure. Copyright, John Sherrill Houser, 2008 We solicit your interest and support for this exciting and important project. The maquette (small model) is now in progress Updates will be posted on this website