Barro Negro Lantern Horizontal Design 1
Barro negro pottery (“black clay”) is a style of pottery from San Bartolo Coyotepec, Oaxaca, distinguished by its color, sheen and unique designs. The origins of Barro negro pottery extend through the Monte Albán period (500 BC), with examples of it found at archeological sites, fashioned mostly into jars and other utilitarian items. It has remained a traditional craft of the Zapotecs and Mixtecs of the Central Valleys area to the present day. Originally Barro negro pottery was matte, grayish and very sturdy. In the 1950s, it was discovered that you could change the color and shine of the pieces by polishing the clay pieces and firing them at a slightly lower temperature. Just before the formed clay piece is completely dry, it is polished with a quartz stone to compress the surface. After firing, the piece emerges a shiny black instead of a dull gray. This innovation makes the pieces more delicate, but the final piece looks amazing.Don Luis Gilberto Garcia Blanco has been working barro since he was a child. His mother was the originator of what is now considered a classic style of Atzompa barro: exquisite pieces intricately decorated with flowers and leaves, colored in traditional barro and barro rojo (red clay). Her work was so widely recognized that it’s still found in many museums throughout the world, including the MET in NYC, International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., Mingei Museum in San Diego, and many more. Don Luis learned under her tutelage and continues her tradition in his shop named after her, Artesanias Theodora Blanco. Each piece is meticulously made by hand with no molds or guides.
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- (1) Barro Negro Lantern w/ stand