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The 10 most representative crafts of Mexico

Talavera poblana

The origin of this art is still uncertain, as its name is said to be due to the similarity it has with the one made in the city of Talavera de la Reina, Spain. However, and while the earthenware of Puebla is decorated in the similarity of the said city, this is not enough to suppose that the first potters who arrived in Puebla were Talavera. There is the possibility that they were Sevillians, as Seville was an emigration point to New Spain and an earthenware and tiles producer with Arab influence.

Although pottery already existed in Mexico, the art of glazing and enamelling the clay arrived from Spain at the end of the 16th century, and it was in the year 1589 when a good number of master pottery makers began to establish themselves in the valleys of Puebla. the raw material necessary to produce good quality ceramics, which increased the city’s boom as a producing center for this craft.

Talavera is one of the few (or perhaps the only) crafts required to regulate their craft. It was in the mid-seventeenth century that, in 1653, the viceroy created a potter’s guild and a regulation dictating the conditions required to be a master of trade, as well as the proportions in which the clay should be mixed, the rules to be followed for decoration, and the qualities and details of manufacture. It is worth mentioning that the geographical areas from which the raw material for the production of the talavera is obtained are protected and that this craft is the holder of the Denomination of Origin. We can say that the talavera has earned national and international recognition not only for its beauty that lies in its functionality, but in the quality of its products

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Alebrijes

First, we have the handicrafts most voted by unknown Mexico users; these unique characters that, in the past, have not been called alebrijes, but simply carved figures. Traditionally the term alebrije has been used by Mexico City’s Linares family, very famous for their fantastic pieces of cardboard. For those crafts influenced by his dreams, Pedro Linares, a very talented individual, gave the name alebrijes. One individual is said to have found that this form of work was selling well and enjoyed a certain popularity; so he thought making them out of wood as cardboard would have the downside of fast decay and, without a doubt, they would last longer in wood.Since then his name remains and over time they made not only these figures, but animals with many imaginary elements.

Another version is available in the town of San Antonio Arrazola, Oaxaca, where this kind of craft is also made. It is said that Pedro Linares visited some relatives in the early 80s of the last century and showed them some of his alebrijes; a man named Manuel Jiménez decided to decide on fantastic beings, typical of his worldview, but carved in wood and with the typical style of local craftsmanship. In Oaxaca and Mexico alebrijes have certainly become a standard, made of paper or wood.

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Black Mud

Once again, the State of Oaxaca becomes the protagonist of this list as it is the owner of another of our country’s most representative crafts: black clay, a unique handicraftsmanship.

Since pre-Columbian times the black clay began to be worked in the region. It is known to be attributed to the Zapotecs, and later to the Mixtecs, inhabitants of Oaxaca ‘s central valleys. During that time they did wonders with the abundant mud from which they extracted the material to make vessels, pots and other figurines.

A woman named Doña Rosa had already given a great boost to black clay in her workshop located in the town of San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca (16 km south of the capital of Oaxaca) in the 1950s. Doña Rosa discovered at this site that she could change the color and brightness of the clay by using a cooking technique that uses a two-mouth oven that at some point is closed to minimize oxygen, because if an ordinary oven the piece gets a reddish color

This burning process is called “Reduction of atmospheres” (used since pre-Hispanic times) because a physical reaction occurs contrary to oxidation. The pieces of clay are polished and burnished before burning them to give as a result the beautiful and popular handicrafts that we know today and that have made the state of Oaxaca famous.

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Charro hat

In order to close this super list in which our users collaborated, we present Mexico’s benchmark in the world: the charro hat, a curious mixture of garment-accessory-work of art- and complement to a whole garment. Initially, as their name implies, the hats of charros served to shield themselves from the sun by overseeing the construction of the various field works in the haciendas. In the 19th century, hats, simply made of fibres, for use in special events or some religious festivals, had to be transformed or enriched with other touches that resulted little by little in the hat we all know today and whose best expression is that worn by mariachi musicians. Some velvety, and with other applications of golden or silver strings that give it a distinctive touch of style and elegance with their delicate positioning on the edges and body of the hat. Who has had the chance to travel the world and accidentally finds wearing a charro hat, he immediately remembers, sometimes with nostalgia and sometimes with pride, the great country that saw him born and that awaits him when he returns.

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Mud

Since pre-Hispanic times, the cultures that inhabited our current territory were already experts in the art of working with clay, sands and various types of “light” earth that, mixed with water, served to create magnificent pieces that, Even today, they continue to surprise locals and strangers in the various museums in Mexico and the world where they are proudly exhibited. Over time the ancient Mesoamerican techniques of clay work such as pastillage, burnishing and sgraffito were perfected until now, and since the last century) their best expression in places like Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, where in more than 500 workshops spread throughout the length and breadth of the town, you will find the best china in the region, now sporting colorful applications and even high-quality enamels.

During your trip to this Magical Town, or to the region of Puebla and Tlaxcala, where clay work has also reached exalted levels, do not forget to acquire all kinds of pots, jars, vases and pots that will look perfect in your kitchen, in the dining room or in any corner of your home.

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Serape

This clothing is the owner of place number 7, of rectangular format and of great colour. It is typical of Saltillo city and its environs. The immediate antecedent is considered to be those clothes that women wear during pre-Hispanic periods and were created using a backstrap loom. In the course of time, these were no longer made of jute but of cotton and also ceased to be produced through that rudimentary system , giving way to their manufacture on modern industrial looms. Nevertheless, and despite this notable change in its production that has allowed it to transcend our borders, the serape continues to maintain its freshness and usefulness, especially at certain times of That year, when it’s getting cold. You can not avoid purchasing one when you fly to Coahuila state and visit the capital city!

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Shawl

The artisanal production of this traditional garment dates from the year 1764, in Santa María del Río, San Luis Potosí, as a need for women to have a garment to cover their heads when entering the temples.

In this town, a rebocería workshop school has operated since 1953, run by the outstanding artisan Felipe Acevedo; there it is possible to observe the complete manufacturing process of the garment that lasts from 30 to 60 days on average and consists of 15 steps, among which is boiling or “jamming” the thread, sunning it, tying it into a ball, dyeing and warping it.

The rebozo has become a dress so strongly identified with our society that it has become one of many Mexican women’s standard wardrobes, irrespective of their socioeconomic status. So intrinsic is the use of the rebozo that it is even said that when they remembered their boyfriend the women of the Santa María del Río region , especially those of Otomí origin, dipped the tip of their rebozo in a fountain.

Currently there are several production centers in addition to Santa María del Río, in San Luis Potosí, such as Tenancingo, in the State of Mexico; La Piedad, Michoacán; Santa Ana Chautenpan, Tlaxcala; and Moroleón, Guanajuato.

Despite the above, the production of rebozos has gone through a severe crisis caused by various factors such as low demand and high production costs. For this reason, people and institutions have contributed with actions to preserve and value the art and tradition of this beautiful handicraft that allows us to keep alive the customs of our ancestors, but also the fact of retaking this garment for daily use also speaks of elegance in dress and interest in transcending Mexican culture

Not because they are in fifth place are they less important because, without a doubt, the worsted tables (nierikas), one of the objects of Huichol art, have been the most successful both for their “psychedelic” designs, inspired by visions produced under the peyote effects, as well as the complex and esoteric symbolic and mythological representations. However, the masks and figurines covered with beads, and the crosses woven with yarn, have also positioned themselves worldwide for their beauty and contained symbolism. The figurines made with beads represent deities and sacred animals; The crosses are woven with Tsikurite yarn and are important ritual objects, although they are also made for commercial purposes. These are representations of the cosmos with its five directions, that is, the four cardinal points and the center. These beautiful crafts can be found mainly in Nayarit, northern Jalisco and some areas of Zacatecas.

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Trees of life

Trees of life The famous trees of life, originally from Metepec, State of Mexico, a true wonder, even for artists and artisans already established in extremely distant territories such as Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Once, a friend who went to settle in Rome told me: “I took with me a tree of life, one of those from Metepec, and as soon as a Hindu colleague saw it – he is an artist and has already exhibited in Japan and other parts of the world-, he told me: “that is an extraordinary wonder… it is incredible how its creators, both in small and large format, -because I have seen them huge-, always manage to make the universe look perfectly captured in the one that men live: in the foreground the sacred tree, as a symbol of life, and emanating from it, countless allegories that make life easier for all of us… They are incredible! ”. So, if you travel through Toluca and its cold but beautiful surroundings, do not stop admiring them. You will want to take one home with you!

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Silversmith’s

According to tradition, one of the first gifts that Hernán Cortés received from Mr. Moctezuma was a pair of discs made in gold and silver “with the images of the sun and the moon engraved on each one of them.” Indeed, since pre-Hispanic times, the inhabitants of the western and southern regions of the country (the current states of Michoacán, Oaxaca and Guerrero) perfectly mastered the techniques to give life in these metals to wonderful jewels (earrings, necklaces, earrings, bezotes, bracelets, rings, among others) that only the upper classes could wear as a symbol of their power and status. Currently, one of the best places to buy silver in Mexico is Taxco, in the state of Guerrero. In this destination, considered as a Magic Town, you will find countless workshops and galleries where the best works made of silver in the world are offered. Be sure to admire them, as well as visit the Spratling Museum, with a fantastic collection of objects that reveal the skill and fine work of the Taxco silversmith artists. You’ll love it!

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