Hugging the foot of a mountain in the Tlacolula Valley, the charming village of Santa Ana del Valle was the starting point for the weekly hike of “Hoofing It In Oaxaca.” Zapotec is the common language spoken here, and many people earn at least part of their living by weaving gorgeous rugs and other tapestries.
The village of Santa Ana is in the foreground, and Tlacolula, the largest city in this valley, is in the distance.
From an altitude of approximately 5400 feet, we climbed 1619 ft. (493.5 m.)to a high point of about 7032 ft. (2143 m.) Particularly for those of us used to living at sea level, there was a lot of huffing and puffing! Our rewards were spectacular views in every direction and the opportunity to visit an unexcavated archaeological site.
Back in the plaza of Santa Ana, we visited their lovely church and bought handwoven tapestries from friendly local artists.
As our small bus neared the remote villages, the route became more twisted and rocky. Climbing higher and higher, we wondered, “Will this bus be able to navigate the next bend? Does the driver realize how close we are to the edge? Is he sure this road leads to the village?” Forty Rotarians from across the United States peered skeptically from the windows as the buses lurched up and down the dusty semblance of a road. We had all met in Guatemala City and embarked on a ten-day excursion of learning about the country of Guatemala and the lives and culture of its people. Read more…
Fanciful alebrijes, exquisitely detailed black pottery, stunning textiles, and other wonderful works of art await the visitor’s viewing pleasure in the Museum of Popular Art Oaxaca.
The artists of San Bartólo Coyotepec, where the museum is located, are famous for their black pottery (barro negro). After forming the brown clay vases, bowls and characters entirely by hand, potters using small knives and other specialized tools cut in surface designs and see-throughs. The clay changes to a pearly black color as it is fired.
Sometimes outlandish, often humorous, but always gracefully carved and vividly painted, alebrijes hold the power to make the viewer gasp with astonishment at the meticulous hand painting or smile at the whimsy of the creator.
Fiber artists of southern Mexico are well-known for producing gorgeous textiles that are used for clothing, bags, tablecloths, and bedspreads. Artisans weave with backstrap looms, table looms, and floor looms, and they often decorate their weavings with colorful hand embroidery.