As we cruise through all of the sites, sounds, smells & feels of Mexico, you experience a sensory overload of this very rich & ancient culture which is nothing like we and most Americans we know would think of Mexico. Mexican roots run so deep, the Mayan & Aztec civilizations are some of the most popular indigenous civilizations known to the area & they are still ever present all over Mexico today! Today's Mexican culture has gone through much conquest & revolution which now comprises the indigenous people, Mestizos or a people of mixed European descent, & many a in between.
Between the culturally rich & diverse heritage of these people & the land, Mexico has been a thrilling experience to say the least. We've driven from the farthest North West coast to it's most Southern East tips & have learned more than we could have imagined about Mexico. It would truly be difficult to pick a favorite aspect of our Mexican experience thus far between the culture, the people, the nature, the art, the food, the music & just all the feelings, but for the creature of habit in me, my obsession will always be the art. Art is so rich in this culture that Mexico's most prolific artists Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera are the face of Mexico's largest monetary bill, the 500 peso. They both incorporated their own artistic styles & visions with indigenous subjects, style & inspirations. It's really special to be in a country whose history is so old & rich & still get to experience the descendants, art, food & culture of these indigenous people today.
Being in Mexico you can experience both a modern Mexican culture or experience the indigenous culture & groups that maintain so much of their ancestors' legacies. There are hundreds of indigenous groups that descend from the Mayans & Aztecs with different language, food, dress & appearance than the modern day Mexican whom is a mixed race with European descent & speaks Spanish in Mexico today.
One of my favorite indigenous arts are rugs handmade in tradition by the indigenous Tzotzil people in one of my favorite states of Mexico, Chiapas. Another favorite are the handmade rugs weaved by the Zapotecas indigenous group in the state of Oaxaca.
Tzotzil rugs both hand-knotted & handmade in San Andrés Larráinzar, Chiapas. As a quality hand made rug enthusiast, we were dazzled to have stumbled upon a collection of rugs of a quality and design that we felt were second to none, in comparison to the authentic Persian, Chinese, Morrocan rugs that I so appreciate and love. The group of Tzotzil rug makers that spends countless hours hand-knotting them are no more than 20 people producing less than 50 pieces per month. To say the least, these rugs are quite rare and we are continually aiming to make the ones we find most beautiful available on our etsy store at www.badbazaar.etsy.com
Though we've only broken even due to the relatively high cost they're selling it at, we are still pretty excited that we were able to capture and express more of the hidden gems of Mexico to share with our reality.
We drove the entire day guided by a Tzotzil native to find this small community of rug artisans that were hidden in the mountains of Chiapas. Since our guide and majority of the locals didn't know exactly where these group of rug makers were, we for a while thought they no longer existed or that we weren't fortunate enough to find them.
Tzotzil Hand-knotted Rug. My absolute favorite.
Zapotec rugs hand-dyed & handmade in Teotitlan de Valle, Oaxaca:
Valle de Teotitlan