Mexican Pottery Overview
Mexican Pottery has been part of the Mexican culture from its very beginnings.
For thousands of years the pottery craft have been flourishing in Mesoamerica which is why it is no wonder that nowadays the pottery is the most practiced craft in Mexico.
Mexico is the country of tasteful food, ardent passion, big romance, colorful art, joyful and sentimental music, seductive dance, and craft.
Craft is a big part of the Mexican culture. If you visit the rural areas in Mexico you would see that every man and every woman knows to make or build something.
In the past the pottery craft have been a necessity for most of the Mexicans, and it is still so in some rural Mexican areas.
However, with the industrialization of the country the necessity for pottery rapidly disappeared but that didn’t make the pottery craft disappear as well.
On contrary the pottery is more and more popular in Mexico and there is also a big national and international demand for the Mexican pottery which is one of the reasons why the pottery craft in Mexico is everything but distinct (despite the fact that the number of the potters is declining every year).
This is a very positive thing for the Mexican culture because the pottery tradition is probably one of the oldest (if not the oldest) traditions that connects the ancient pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican cultures and civilizations with the post-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations and present Mexico.
All of those great civilizations and cultures cherished pottery craft and the evidence of their beautiful pottery achievements are displayed all around the Mexico in many museums and art galleries.
Antique Mexican Pottery
Antique Mexican clay and ceramic dishes, vases and other art peaces are highly valued and can cost a lot of money.
Some peaces are even declared priceless due to the fact that they are made hundreds or even thousands of years ago and represent a unique Mexican heritage.
The antique Mexican ceramics is not only highly valued buy the Mexicans but by the international community as well.
Of course even though some old Mexican ceramics you cannot buy there are many antique Mexican ceramic peaces that are for sale, but in order to buy it you would need a lots of time, expert advice and of course money.
You see, many people sell the antique Mexican ceramics in Mexico, United States and online however not all of them are legit.
In other words, if you are looking to buy the authentic Mexican antique pottery you should never do it so without consulting with a legitimate expert in the field first.
Otherwise, you may end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars for something that you can buy at the flea market. Not that sometimes you cannot find a quite valuable peace of art at the flea market for virtually no money.
Different Pottery Shapes
There are numerous Mexican art pottery shapes ranging anywhere from the simple bowls and vases to elaborate sculptures known as Trees of Life.
Another popular form of Mexican ceramics is called Mexican folk art.
These Mexican ceramic art peaces are decorative and come in many different forms and sizes (figures, tiles, vases, dishes, etc).
In the last decades there have been a lot of experimentations with the shapes of the Mexican art pottery peaces, and some of those peaces are truly amassing and remarkable.
There are many modern Mexican artists that use the pottery to express their complex and highly charged emotions and feelings through the unorthodox and unusual shapes of the pottery sculptures.
Mexican Pottery Production
In Mexico, pottery making is mostly family business. The pottery craft’s secrets are passed from one generation to another and no outsiders are allowed in the pottery making process.
In general the process of pottery making in present Mexico is still very similar to the process of pottery making in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
Potters still use the local clay that they purify by the ancient methods.
Some of them dry the clay and then crush it using some simple tool such as a roiling stone. Others place the clay in water and wait for the sediments and the impurities to fall to the bottom; and yet others do use the modern way of purifying the clay which is, once they dry it, they place it in front of their house and wait for the cars to roll over it.
All this is done in order to ensure the high quality of the pottery and to keep it from cracking.
Once the clay is ready to be molded the potters use it to make the unique peaces of Mexican art that are very likely to find their way in the international market.
Of course there is also a mechanized production of the Mexican pottery however nothing can be compared with the hand made peaces.
Even though the pottery is very popular in Mexico the number of the potters is declining every year. For example in 1994 there were over 1.5 million of potters in Mexico whereas nowadays there are about 40 000 of them.
Each year there is less and less ceramics artisans due to the mechanized process of pottery making, the ever rising popularity of the plastic wares, and of course the fact that almost whoever can leave Mexico does so and immigrates to the United States.
In conclusion, the pottery is a big part of the Mexican culture and traditions and it represents one of very few direct links between the modern Mexico and ancient pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica.
It would be a great loss for the Mexican culture if the pottery craft disappears from the Mexican cities, towns and villages and becomes only a form of art which is practiced by handful Mexican artists.