SOLD TO BENEFIT THE MENDOCINO ART CENTER, CA
The origin of the name “Matilija” can be traced back to the Chumash Indian Chief and his tribe who inhabited the area of present-day Ventura county in Southern California during the 19th century. The legend of Chief Matilija’s daughter Amatil and her lost love is retold in various versions from the history of this period. After falling in love with a young brave, Amatil is then captured by Spaniards and taken to work at Mission Buenaventura, but longs to return to Ojai (from the Chumash for “nest”). She manages to escape, but sadly finds that her lover has been mortally wounded during a battle with the Spaniards. It is from this legend, that the “Matilija” poppy became the symbol of the tears of Amatil and her heart of pure gold.
The Chumash like other native California tribes, fought against the domination of the Spanish and the formation of mission culture, so this legend may well be rooted in historical fact. In 1824 near Mission Buenaventura, there is record of Chief Matilija having waged a major battle against the Spanish. In present day Ojai and Ventura the name of Chief Matilija is echoed in many streets, businesses and other manmade landmarks as well as some of the creeks and canyons in the region.
For further information on Mendocino Art Center and the genesis of the Matilija Poppy Project, please refer to the condition report.
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