It’s easy to get lost inside the world of Mexican handcrafts. From clothing to toys, jewelry and decorative objects, these creations are a reflection on the colorful worldview of the artisans’ ancestors and the rich cultural diversity in the country.
If you’re traveling to Mexico and you want a crash course on the staples of folk art, check out this guide to the very best of Mexican handcrafts and where to get them.
Alebrijes and black clay pottery from Oaxaca
Alebrijes are handmade, wooden figures, that take the form of imaginative fusions of various animals and fantastic creatures, finished with strident colors. Some examples of the crazy imagery found in alebrijes are roosters with bull horns, winged dogs with cat heads, giant turkeys with dragon tails. These fantastic creatures are produced through an entirely artisanal process, which involves several artists from the same family, giving birth to unique pieces. Usually, the men are responsible for carving the wood and the women take on the decoration tasks.
On the other hand, a trip to Oaxaca is also a unique chance for seeing and buying black clay pottery, since it is the only place in the world where this material is used. Straight from the town of San Bartolo Coyotepec and its surroundings, black clay objects communicate an extraordinary elegance, beauty and charm. You will fall in love with them!
Huichol art from Nayarit
Whether embroidered in cloth or united by tiny beads, Huichol art makes use of a wide variety of bright colors and it usually includes representations of the three most important elements in the Wixárika cosmology: maize, deer, and peyote.
Talavera from Puebla
When the Spanish founded the city of Puebla in the sixteenth century, they established pottery workshops that were supervised by artisans from a town called Talavera de la Reina, who specialized in the style of ceramics that were introduced by the Arabs in Spain.You can note the Arabic influence in these stunning pieces, available in the many stores and crafts markets in Puebla.
Silver from Guerrero
The town of Taxco is well known for its gorgeous silver jewelry, which local artisans have been making for over five centuries! The silver making tradition in Taxco goes back to the heyday of mining activity in the region, when this mineral was so abundant that a whole generation of locals learned the art of creating and giving shape to countless silver objects. The designs are beautiful and the quality, as long as you shop in established stores, is guaranteed.
Toys from Guanajuato
Colorful cardboard dolls, miniature kitchen utensils, wooden trucks, clay castles, mechanic boxers… the world of artisanal toys in Guanajuato is fun, vast, and completely distinct from anything you will ever find at a modern toy store. If you find yourself traveling around San Miguel de Allende or the capital city, this is the kind of souvenir that will draw a smile on a small and playful recipient.
Hammocks from Yucatan
Hammocks were first brought to the Yucatan Peninsula by Spanish conquerors, who carried them from the Caribbean. Over the course of centuries, Mayan artisans perfected the craft of weaving these hanging beds, with great results. The colorful hammocks made today with cotton and linen are the product of an old tradition that has managed to live on.
Textiles from Chiapas
Mostly weaved on traditional waste looms, traditional clothing made in Chiapas is one of the most vibrant and beautiful manifestations of Mexican folk art. The patterns and designs that appear in these blouses, dresses and other pieces of clothing all represent the cosmogony and mythology of the indigenous artisans.
Discover the best of Mexican handcrafts on your next visit to the country and take home some of the beauty of this extraordinary land. Remember that there’s always a City Express hotel waiting for you. Book a room for your next trip!