This is the pottery of the Serranos, the Zapotec mountain people. It is created in two small villages carved and hammered into the Sierra Madre mountain sides. We will visit the village of Tavehua.
Here, it is the old women of the village that carry on the pottery tradition. Their daughters and grand daughters have found paths that have lead them away from mountain life. And so it happens in these little villages, that the old women, as the only women, are also the youngest. Their position as "youth" shows in both their spirit and their pottery. They are quick to laugh and cheerful, with sharp eyes, and their pottery is creative and playful. They build fat, smiling pigs with floppy ears, goat-head pitchers that spout at the mouth, musical bands composed entirely of rabbits, and flower pots in the forms of turkeys, sheep, coyotes, and deer.
Those who continue the pottery in Tavehua represent the last generation of an ancient lineage of potters. In 10 or 15 years there will be no potters left here. Sadly, this foreshadows the future of other potttery villages as well. Clay is being replaced by plastic and potters find their role models on television, rather than in the community. They look for work more glamorous and modern than pottery and more often than not, head for "el Norte," the U.S. of A., hoping to find it there. You will find more examples of Tavehua pottery here.
Copyright © 1995-2008 Tony and Eric Mindling