Mexican gastronomical craftwork: south/southeast of the country

The colorful and vast ecosystems of southern/southeastern Mexico have been a source of inspiration for fine gastronomic pieces of the region's indigenous peoples.

By Museo de Arte Popular

Botellón para agua by DesconocidoMuseo de Arte Popular

Made up of the states of Chiapas, Campeche, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Yucatan and Tabasco, Mexico's south/southeast concentrates more than 70% of North American biodiversity. It presents rich and varied ecosystems such as tropical and mountain forest, mesophyll forest, wetlands and mangroves.

Olla / Olla mixe / Olla by DesconocidoMuseo de Arte Popular

This region of Mexico is a reflection of the enormous influence of biodiversity on the development and manufacture of craftsmanship and popular art. As well as the shaping of the cultural plurality that a nation represents.

Mapache comiendo mazorca by Juan Antonio Landero ReyesMuseo de Arte Popular

The area is privileged because of its abundant natural resources, which has allowed artisans to interact with the environment, taking advantage of the resources of its habitat, a source of inspiration, also, of Popular Art.

Hence, we often see that in the utensils intended for Mexican gastronomic activities of the south/southeast of the country, they evoke the flora and fauna of the region.

Pavo by Gonzalo Rodríguez JerónimoMuseo de Arte Popular

Figurines and representations of animals, such as jaguars, armadillos, turkeys, turtles and monkeys, among other animals that make up the fauna of the region are also reflected in the craftsmanship.

Lek by Carlos HerediaMuseo de Arte Popular

In the colors that make up the lush jungle landscapes, the plumage of the birds, the motifs on the skin of jaguars, the artisans have many patterns to inspire them to decorate the crafts that they use for culinary and ritual purposes.

After all, the same cooking process can become a ritual in everyone.

Contenedor para chocolate (2016) by Fanni Verónica VámosMuseo de Arte Popular

While ecosystems play an important role as a source of inspiration in culinary craftsmanship, they also play a key role in the raw material that artisans use for the manufacture of the pieces.

Molinillo TEO1 (2016) by Gisela Morales y Emilio CervantesMuseo de Arte Popular

An environment as fertile as the forest provides many materials, from fruits and minerals to dye the pieces, to hardy and malleable woods for making trays, grinders and other utensils.

Jícara by DesconocidoMuseo de Arte Popular

In some cases, gourds and pitchers are made from fruits that grow in the area, which are cured, varnished and painted.

Such is the variety of materials, as well as branches and techniques within Mexican craftsmanship for the manufacture of pieces that artisans, while keeping centuries of tradition alive, continue to give free rein to their imagination.

Jícara by José Castellanos RabanalesMuseo de Arte Popular

Although the area has similar climates and ecosystems, the pieces that each ethnic group and indigenous people manufactures do not lose their originality.

Jícara (en forma de canasta) by DesconocidoMuseo de Arte Popular

A gourd made in Chiapas will not look like one from Guerrero. Here it can be appreciated how each town also imbues its history and worldview to its craftsmanship.

Batidores de chocolate (1960) by DesconocidoMuseo de Arte Popular

And just as the external world and its history inspire them, the day-to-day needs finally make up an essential part of each piece.

Olla / Cántaro mixe / Olla by DesconocidoMuseo de Arte Popular

When it comes to making utensils, they don't create beautiful pieces just like that.

They also produce practical pieces, elements that can adorn their meals, as much as they can help them in preparing them. 

Hence, in Mexican craftsmanship we also find beautiful metates (mealing stones), pots or grinders, for example, with which you can make delicious dishes typical of the region. Numerous salsas, chocolate, broths and tortilla that always accompanies Mexican tables. 

Jarro chocolatero "Atzompa" (2016) by Luis Equihua Zamora y Rufina Ruiz LópezMuseo de Arte Popular

In every piece, whatever its function, we will not fail to find something from the outside world with the spirit of the home and the dining room.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Taste Mexico
Taste Mexico: learn the histories, meet the makers, and discover the secret ingredient of Mexico's food culture
View theme
Google apps