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.
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