Friday, April 4, 2008

San Bartolo Coyotepec museum and town

"the heritage of an ancient culture shows the treasures of the world"
(translation of the Spanish at the top of the photo) There is a small but very interesting museum in the town square, this photo as well as the pieces in my photos were there)the sincerity and pride of the family in this picture is profoundly evident. Not sure how long ago this photo was taken, my guess is in the last 20 years, but only a guess. The type of black pottery that San Bartolo Coyotepec is famous for is still made in this area in the way, without using a wheel methods for 2000 years. Part of the craftsmanship was lost for several centuries although the local people still made hand worked pieces but of a dull clay color. Then one day Dona Rosa Valente Nieto Real rediscovered the secret of her Zapotec ancestors by smoking and then polishing the pots with an agate rock until they shone with an almost hematite looking metallic finish. Today the village of San Bartolo Coyotepec is still making the shiny black pottery, completely hand formed and smoked in wood fired kilns dug directly into the earth.

(the clay Catrina (well dressed skeleton) is interesting because on her skirt are costumes representing the regions of Oaxaca, which are all different in terms of custom and sometimes language.

There are sixteen groups and the number of speakers of their language according to the 2005 census are:

However, the regions are usually divided into 7 or 8 distinct cultural divisions as represented by the smaller skeletons on the skirt.

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