Mexico is known for its rich cultural heritage, including its diverse and dynamic craft tradition. Artisans in Mexico have been producing unique and high-quality handicrafts for centuries, with many of these traditions dating back to pre-Cortesian or colonial times. Today, these craft traditions continue to thrive, with new expressions and work being added all the time.
Crafts by Municipality
The artisans of Mexico can be found in most municipalities of the state, each with its specialty. Some of the most well-known municipalities for their craft production include Metepec, Tultepec, Temascalcingo, Toluca, Chimalhuacán, Texcoco, and Temoaya.
Metepec is known for its Trees of Life, a traditional clay sculpture that represents the tree of life in Christian iconography. Tultepec is famous for its pyrotechnics, particularly its fireworks displays during religious festivals. Temascalcingo is known for its traditional tableware, made from local clay. Toluca is famous for its alfeñique candy, a type of sugary confection that is sculpted into various shapes. Chimalhuacán is known for its quarry stone carving, Texcoco for its blown glass, and Temoaya for its knotted rugs.
One of the reasons why the craft tradition in Mexico is so dynamic is due to immigration. Thousands of people from other regions of the country arrive in the state daily, including artisans. This population flow has led to the introduction of handicrafts originally representative of another area of the republic, but that end up being assimilated into the State of Mexico.
These new expressions add to the existing craft traditions in Mexico, making them even more diverse and dynamic. Although some may debate whether these crafts are Mexican or "foreign," the human element is what ultimately marks the identity of the Mexicans. Those who choose to make their lives in Mexico become a part of its culture and contribute to the robust trunk of the country's craft tradition.
The artisans of Mexico produce a wide variety of crafts in many different categories. Some of these categories include pottery and ceramics, confectionery, vegetable fibers, artistic blacksmithing, bone and horn, lapidary and stonework, wood, metalwork, goldsmithing and jewelry, bakery, stationery and cardboard, pyrotechnics, saddlery, textiles, glass, toys, miniatures, feather art, masks, folk painting, resin, and new crafts.
While some crafts are more well-known than others, many lesser-known crafts are just as impressive. For example, Chimalhuacán and San Salvador Atenco are known for their folk painting, which uses a unique mixture of fresh egg white and powdered vermilion on cotton cloaks. Ecatepec produces various figures of warriors representing different periods of history, including the pre-Hispanic era and medieval times.
The artisans of Mexico are a diverse and dynamic group of people, each with their specialty and contribution to the country's rich cultural heritage. From pottery and ceramics to pyrotechnics and blown glass, there is something for everyone in the craft tradition of Mexico. With new expressions and works being added all the time, this tradition will continue to thrive and evolve for generations to come.