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Mexican Indian tribe covers VW bug with bead-art

VW Bug with Bead Art
The full-sized version of the beaded bug will be auctioned after a world tour while mini beaded bugs like this one will also go on sale soon at the museum's store. Adrienne Bard

By Adrienne Bard in Mexico City, Mexico.

MEXICO CITY - A Volkswagen bug decorated with more than 2 million glass beads glued on by hand by Mexico's Huichol Indians is soon to embark on a world tour.

"The point is to raise awareness of the centuries old tradition and the native culture," said Cecilia de Moctezuma, president of the of the friends' association of Mexico City's Museum of Popular Art.

"We wanted to dignify them, because we love what they do," said de Moctezuma.

The beaded bug took native craftsmen and women, who live in the Western Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit, more than 8 months to complete and required 200 pounds of beads and a special polymer glue.

The dashboard, steering wheel and even the hub caps are decorated with the tiny beads imported from Europe for this special project.

VW Bug with Bead Art
The hood was crafted by one group of artists while the sides were patterned by another. It took more than 8 months to cover the car and required about 200 pounds of tiny glass beads. Adrienne Bard

Designs on the hood and roof include animal forms such as deer, eagles and scorpions - all part of the Huichol culture.

"We learned a lot about them while they were making it," said de Moctezuma. "They are very spiritual people. They don't care about making money."

That may be one of the reasons their art is in danger of disappearing. The museum aims to auction off the car once the world tour is over, to raise money for the tribe to continue the bead work.

If you can't afford the full-sized version, mini versions of the car will also be sold starting next month for under $100 dollars in the museum's store.

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