Mazahua Art Objects

Mazahua embroidery is barely known, even by many textile collectors, as it is overshadowed by many other traditions including those of the Huichols, the Otomis of Tenango and the various peoples of Chiapas. But it does have an important Baroque aesthetic, with symmetrical horizontal bands and heavily stylized elements.  The designs are not just handcraft … Continue reading Mazahua Art Objects

The dolls of transplanted Mixtecs

Mexico's overall south-to-north migration has led to some interesting cultural consequences, some unexpected. One of Mexico's main "exporters" of migrants is the state of Oaxaca, the second poorest in the country with 50 of the poorest indigenous communities. Many of these communities are found in the Mixteca or Mixtec region, which lies in the northwest … Continue reading The dolls of transplanted Mixtecs

A somewhat hidden tradition carved in wood

It would be difficult to underestimate the importance of woodworking in central Michoacan. Just walking around the tourist town of Patzcuaro reveals the prevalence of wood ceiling beams and wood columns in front of many buildings. Such things can be found in other parts of Mexico as well, but they are almost always because they … Continue reading A somewhat hidden tradition carved in wood

Showcasing indigenous businesses

The purpose of the Expo de los Pueblos Indígenas event is to showcase and promote indigenous-owned small business, but it is also one the best Mexican handcrafts expo despite is less-than 3 year history. The Comisón Nacional para el Desarrollo de Pueblos Indígenas (National Commissioin for the Development of Indigenous Communities or CDI for short) … Continue reading Showcasing indigenous businesses

Exploring crafts towns around Lake Patzcuaro

Most of us who get hooked on Mexican handcrafts and folk art begin with the typical tourist markets selling trinkets to tourists, with the colors and novel forms as the attraction. As we learn more, we become more interested in the processes, culture and people behind the items that we admire. Tours specifically to bring … Continue reading Exploring crafts towns around Lake Patzcuaro

Trees in Puebla

The "Tree of Life" (Spanish Arbol de la Vida) is a unique clay folk sculpture which arose in central Mexico sometime during the colonial period. Soon after the Conquest, the Spanish destroyed indigenous religious figures made of clay (and other materials) and set about replacing them with Christian iconography. The original purpose of the trees was … Continue reading Trees in Puebla