Sunflowers are smiling

Elizabeth Kendall

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa

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Artist's Description

Sunflowers are very well-known flowers in South Africa. Acrylic painting. The sunflower is native to the Central Americas. The evidence thus far is that it was first domesticated in Mesoamerica, present day Mexico, by at least 2600 BC. It may have been domesticated a second time in the middle Mississippi Valley, or been introduced there from Mexico at an early date, as maize was. The earliest known examples of a fully domesticated sunflower north of Mexico have been found in Tennessee and date to around 2300 BC. Many indigenous American peoples used the sunflower as the symbol of their solar deity, including the Aztecs and the Otomi of Mexico and the Incas in South America. Francisco Pizarro was the first European to encounter the sunflower in Tahuantinsuyo, Peru. Gold images of the flower, as well as seeds, were taken back to Spain early in the 16th century. Some researchers argue that the Spaniards tried to suppress cultivation of the sunflower because of its association with solar religion and warfare.
FEATURED in The old farts of RedBubble
7 December 2010.
FEATURED in Everyday Women
2 December 2013.

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