Life In Mexico

Mexican Arts – Chiapa de Corzo Style Painting

Each region of Chiapas has its own art that is practiced by the inhabitants, some which are traditions that have been practiced for centuries.  

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Don Alfredo in his showroom with his traditional laca style pieces.

In the case of Chiapa de Corzo, their art is a style of painting called “laca“.  The lacquer they use creates a matte finish on the piece they are adorning, typically wood pieces or hollowed out gourds, called jícaras in Spanish (see photo below).

The most interesting part of the process is how they actually make the paint.  It is made from chia seeds and also from an insect that is boiled, ground and dried.  These are then mixed with plants to give the pigment to the paint.  After this laborious process, the artist then paints the intricate flowers on the piece they are creating.  

The results are stunning as you can see here.  It’s well worth a visit the workshop of an artisan in Chiapa de Corzo to see the whole process and to see the tiny details they paint onto very standard pieces.  The pieces made in the laca style are the most expensive.  There are also artisans who use the typical flower motif and use commercial paints which gives the piece a shinier effect instead of the matte that you will see on the laca style pieces.  

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Dried jicaras waiting to be decorated by the artists of Chiapa de Corzo

See the collection of traditional Mexican pieces at www.chiapasbazaar.com.

Have you seen this style before?  What do you think?   Leave us a comment below.

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