Manos de Oaxaca … Oaxacan hands … the hands of the potter, carver, and weaver. In Mexico, “Manos” is also short for hermanos – brothers and sisters.
Our warehouse and wholesale catalog are full of beautiful pottery, a rich gift to our times born of thousands of years of practice. But the reason Manos de Oaxaca exists isn’t for the pots, but rather the people who create those pots. The knowledge and life ways in the pottery villages have existed as such for thousands of years, a type of sustainability rare in the human world. As the industrial world moves into Oaxaca with its plastic buckets and aluminum pans, the pottery is disappearing. Through our sales we hope to lend a hand to the culture of pottery by giving the potters the opportunity to continue with their ancient trade.
Let us hear from you…
If you find these pages of interest let us know. You can e-mail Manos de Oaxaca directly by clicking on the link below, but we are not always at home in the adobe. Due to long, rutted dirt roads, unpredictable deluges, the potter’s pace (preindustrial, no time clocks, lots of chit-chat with the neighbors), the harvest season (when all would-be potters pluck and shuck corn for a month), the fiestas in the Sierra, etc., it takes some doing to assemble a decent sized stack of pots, and we are frequently on the road. For a quicker response, try webmeister Papa. He put this site together, and is almost always hulking over his computer.
Far in the south of Mexico where Middle America begins to crumple and twist into the long land bridge that ties it with South America, rising from the Pacific where the Southern Sierra Madre mixes with the clouds, where the centuries have seen empires rise and fall, where the corn has not ceased to grow in untold thousands of years, lies the state called Oaxaca. It is a place absent of subtlety, a land where no one piece of ground resembles another. Quiet coastal beaches disappear into hot thorny lowland scrub which is lost in pungent foothill jungles that cool into mountain cloud forests. The hard edged mountains tumble into canyons that spread beyond to a broken arid interior cut by jumbled mountain ranges and broad valleys of cactus, zapote, stone and dusty arroyos. The land burns under a persistent sun until the sudden roar of summer rains turns all a wet, brilliant green and sets the arroyos thundering with torrents of red, earth drenched water.
i.jpg (3984 bytes)t is in this disparate land, beside the rivers and tempered arroyos, grouped in dusky forests and among the ever present cactus, dotted in the sharp mountains and filling the valleys, where the abundances of nature or accidents of history have placed them, that the people of Oaxaca live. For well over ten thousand years the people, like the cactus, stones and clay, have survived in this wild land. woman1bw.JPG (41029 bytes)
f.jpg (5805 bytes)ive hundred years ago the Spanish conquest turned the nations of Middle America upside down and placed them on the path of forming modern day Mexico. The old leaders have been replaced by new ones. The ancient gods have been renamed. Wires and asphalt have spread across the hills. But quietly living on to the cadence of the summer rains and the harvest of the corn, shaded by the cactus in the vastness of a turbulent land are the same people that have awaited the summer rains for hundreds of generations. These are the people who are the heart and pulse of Oaxaca.