The most dominant of Mexico’s crafts is in the pottery arts. Ceramics was considered one of the highest art forms during the Aztec Empire, the knowledge of making pottery is said to have come from the god Quetzalcoatl himself. The cultural trait of using bold mixtures of vivid colours in art and fabrics was also prevalent in the rich pallete of colours used in traditional Mexican pottery decoration.
The abundance of colours in crafts and other constructions extended back into pre-Hispanic times. Pyramids, temples, murals, textiles and religious objects were painted or coloured with ochre red, bright green, burnt orange, various yellows and turquoise.
Tlaxcala Palacio de Gobierno – Part of a mural created by Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin.
Pre-Hispanic pottery was made by coiling the clay into consecutive circles up the sides, followed by scraping and molding the coiled work until the coils could no longer be detected.The Hispanic wares were not glazed, but rather burnished and painted with coloured fine clay slips. The Spanish introduced the potters’ wheel and new glazing techniques, including Majolica. The colourful Majolica suited the Mexican aesthetic and the Talavera pottery is renowned for its variety of Majolica and its mixture of Arab, Chinese, Spanish and indigenous design influences. Also a “ Baroque “ influence developed with a predominance of curved lines and intricate detail. This hybrid of styles was adopted by the local folk art pottery scene with most potters working in family workshops, and everyone participating in the process.
In the very early colonial period, the native artisan classes were persecuted and their art traditions were virtually destroyed, as many of the designs and techniques they used were linked to pre-Hispanic religious practices, which the Spaniards wanted replaced with Christianity. However, technically they benefited from the new crafts and new craft techniques which were introduced from Europe which were often taught to indigenous and mestizo people at the missions. Their knowledge of majolica helped them become competitive with pottery exporting. Fortunatel, many of their ancient pottery styles were rediscovered from archaeological excavations which helped the indigenous artists re-connect with some of their lost traditions. The pottery ranged from the purely decorative – religious statues, musician miniatures and muñecas ( dolls )– to the utilitarian: jugs, planters, cazuelas ( cooking pots ), small plates, chargers, salsa dishes and cups.
Mexico Mayan bowl carved with serpents and human forms, most likely a scene of the underworld 539 AD.
( met museum )
Angelica Vasquez Cruz – Angelica infuses indigenous legends and Mexican history into her pieces.
Arbol Sirena – mexfolkarts
Arnulfo Vasquez charger
Tall vase decorated with the Virgen de Guadalupe used to decorate a shrine to the Virgin in Santa Maria Atzompa, Oaxaca, Mexico
( Karen Elwell – Flickr )
Colonial Talavera dish
Jose Luis Cortez Hernandez large lidded pot, Mexico
Jose Luis Cortez Hernandez Mexican folk art pottery
Dolores Porras, an important folk artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. She was born in 1937 in Santa Maria Atzompa into a pottery making family. She grew up poor and could not go to school, beginning to make pottery when she was 13 years old and had a career that spanned over 50 years.
( 1937 – 2010 )
Photo Norma Hawthorne
This pot by Dolores Porras exemplifies her decorative narrative, with her use of iguanas and flowers.
Order your personal copy of DOLORES PORRAS: ARTISTA ARTESANA DE BARRO, here. This film is a celebration of the life of Dolores Porras, an innovative Zapotec potter from Oaxaca, Mexico. She began making pottery at age fourteen and worked for over fifty years creating in clay.
Dolores Porras clay figurine
( Karen Elwell – flickr )
Miguel Fabian Pedro -San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca
Faustino Avelino Blanco Núñez
Galeria del Sol Alexander
Jar Mexico (Puebla), 1700 – 1750
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Jose Garcia Antonio terracotta statue
Juana Gomez Ramirez decorating panthers on a large pot.
Juan-Santos finishing a monumental ceramic vessel.
Nahua Pottery Mexico
Man riding a bull candle holder
Uriarte Talavera -Virgin of Guadalupe, Puebla
( .marcobeteta.com/blog/mundo )
Mexican artist Irma García Blanco standing with two of her statues in clay.
Santa María Atzompa, Oaxaca, México.
Sara Ernestina García Mendoza (daughter of José Garcia )
Statuette of the Chupícuaro
Pottery craft of Uruap Tianguis
Tonala or Tlaquepaque lidded bowl with handles
( PocasCosasArts )
Tonala pottery vessel
( Flickr –Dee Kincke )
West Mexico Woman ceramic figure
( Saint Louis Art Museum )
San Felipe shard pottery – Daryl Candelaria
( sarweb.org )
Large twin spout pot – Angel Ortiz
Woman with pot garden sculpture by Jose Garcia Antonino who is a blind Oaxaca Folk Art sculptor.
( http://oaxacaculture.com/ )
Caras de Talavera — Flickr
México Vasija mixteca
Jose Luis Cortez Hernandez – Large lidded jar
José Luis Cortéz Hernández was presented with the “Ángel Carranza Award” at the 2013 Premio Nacional de la Ceramica in Tlaquepaque by Presidente Enrique Peña Nieto.
Jose Luis Cortez Hernandez cannister
Jose Luis Cortez Hernandez – Large lidded jar with a panther motif
When Jose was asked where he got his inspiration from for his pottery shapes, he said, “I just feel the shape as I work with the clay.”
A Nahua Painted Jar Mexico
Jacobo Angeles – ‘Timid Owl’
Mexican ceramica meastro – Jesus Guerrero Santos lidded vessel with silver metal features.
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Tureen – Jesus Guerrero Santos
Jesus Guerrero Santos
Jesus Guerrero Santos
Tureen – Jesus Guerrero Santos
See more of Jesus Guerrero Santos at http://www.jgs.com.mx/
Oaxaca Tree Of Life
This ceramic arbol de vida or tree of life belongs to the folk art collection at Casa Panchita, a delightful guest house in Oaxaca Mexico.
Karen Elwell – flickr