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Cross with Adornments

Cross with Adornments, 1996
Iron: Cast, forged
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Pitcher, 1998
Silver: Forged, hammered, repoussé, with mosaic inlays
Taxco, Guererro

The people of ancient Mesoamerica used copper to fashion axes and bells, as well as gold and silver to make jewelry. After the Spanish conquest, mining burgeoned, and New Spain achieved enormous wealth in silver. The wider availability of metals, coupled with the encouragement and teaching of Catholic missionaries, promoted iron forging and copper work, laying the foundation for a vibrant metalworking tradition.

Today, artists convert copper, tin, lead, gold, and silver into jewelry, silverware, figures, lanterns, candlesticks, candelabra, mirror frames, and other products. In Puebla, Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Guerrero, and Chiapas, artists use wrought iron to produce hardware for doors and gates, charreria (rodeo and horsemanship equipment, such as spurs), and crosses, commonly used as Holy Week decorations.

For more information, please select here.

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Name Jesús Pérez Ornelas
Area Metals
Specialty Hammered Copper
State Michoacán
Locality Santa Clara del Cobre
Photography by Lourdes Almeida
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