Corn Husk Folk Art
Corn husk dolls have a rich folk history. For thousands of years people have been making dolls from corn husks. The husks, like almost every other part of the corn plant, were put to use. In some instances symbols of agricultural fertility were created to pay homage to agricultural deities. In other areas of the world corn husks formed the base of toys, like dolls.
They are still very much a part of the folk art of people from northern Sweden to the shores of the Mediterranean. Contrary to what many believe, the Native American version did not ‘originate’ with the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblos who were placed on reservations and given corn to grow. Records show that American Indian nations on the East Coast have been raising corn for as long as can be remembered. Because they utilized as much as they could from each harvest they used cornstalks as poles, corn cobs as pipes and husks to make dolls.
In Mexico where corn is an important daily ingredient, the corn husk doll is made of both dyed and natural corn husks.
This corn husk doll legend explains why the doll has no face:
There is an Iroquois legend that corn, one of the Three Sisters, made little people out of corn husks. These little people were to roam the earth bringing brotherhood and contentment to the Iroquois people. Corn made one of these children especially beautiful, but this beautiful child became very vain. The Great Spirit warned this child of her vanity, but the warning was ignored. The corn husk child's punishment would be to roam the earth forever with no face, and no way to communicate with her people or nature.
Want to make a corn husk doll of your own?
Corn Husk Doll Tutorial