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Amate paper, a tradition that is still preserved in the heart of Mexico

EXPOARTESANIAS - www.expoartesanias.com
martes 14 de noviembre de 2017

  • Amate paper is an ancestral tradition that is still preserved in the world of crafts to make lamps, decorate tables, tables and rugs.
  • In San Pablito, a town located in the northern highlands of the State of Puebla, it is the only place where the production of amate paper since pre-Hispanic times has been preserved.
  • Approximately 500 families are dedicated to this trade, including Julio Laja Chichicaxtle, who will be exhibiting his works at Expoartesanías 2017. 

Bogota, Colombia. November 2017. - Since the pre-Columbian era the indigenous people used the amate paper to elaborate Mayan codices (hieroglyphic texts elaborated before the Spanish conquest in which they expressed their experiences in the religious, political or cultural field) and its elaboration became a ritual that was passed down from generation to generation and that has been preserved even today in central Mexico. 

Julio Laja Chichicaxtle is an indigenous Otomi of San Pablito, located in the state of Puebla, who has dedicated his whole life to the elaboration of paintings and decorations for tables and lamps in amate paper that can be appreciated at Expoartesanias 2017 that will take place in Corferias from December 6 to 19. 

To make the amate paper, Julio takes the bark from the tree without having to cut the trunk, only making a cut in the stem and pulling the surface until it has several strips. After collecting a sufficient amount, this master of the trade takes this input to his house, where he puts it to cook for five hours in a large pot of boiling water in firewood. Add lime and ashes. 

When the crust has softened and is mouldable, Julio carefully washes the fiber and separates it forming threads that he then spreads one by one on a board that will be his canvas to begin his work of art. With a special stone flattens the fibers and little by little gives the design and the draft to the paper. Sometimes it uses different tonalities to form spirals or rectangles. When he has his work ready, Julio finally lets it dry for three days in the sun. 

"I learned to make amate paper since I was little thanks to my parents and my grandparents and they learned it from their parents. This is a family tradition that passed from generation to generation and I hope that this ancient art will be recognized throughout the world for its technique and that it is an exclusively Mexican cultural heritage since our culture is preserved and reflected in our crafts", says Julio

The works of this indigenous Otomi have been exhibited throughout South America and also in the United States. On this occasion they can be appreciated at Expoartesanias 2017 where they will have new designs and expect to find business opportunities with visitors from Europe, the United States and Central America. 

"We have been attending to Expoartesanias for approximately 5 years and it has been a place where we have grown and we have made known our work and tradition. We are happy to continue participating since this year we have new samples of our trade such as lamps, paintings, decoration for tables and rugs", ends Julio. 

Expoartesanias has been the main stage where hundreds of artisans are known, and in its XXVII edition, which will take place from December 6 to 19 in Corferias, you will be able to appreciate life stories like Julio's and his crafts, made with the heart, which will be on stand 205, on the second floor of pavilion 6.

Trade show calendar

* This schedule could be changed without notice.