Mexican handcrafts and folk art is a complex collection of items made with various materials and fashioned for utilitarian, decorative or other purposes, such as wall hangings, vases,toysand items created for celebrations, festivities and religious rites.
These arts and crafts are collectively called “artesanía” in Mexican Spanish. This term was invented in Spanish during the 20th century to distinguish merchandise made by traditional methods versus those made by industrial/assembly line methods.
The word is also used to promote traditional products to tourists and as a source of Mexican national identity.Mexican artesanía has its foundations in the crafts of the manypre-Hispanic cultureswithin the country, but 500 years of European influence has transformed it into a mixture of the two and unique to Mexico.
Most artesanía produced here shows both European and native influences in the crafting, the design or both.
Most of the artesanía produced in Mexico is ordinary things made for daily use, but they are still considered artistic because most contain decorative details and/or are painted in bright colors for aesthetic purposes.The bold use of colors in crafts and other constructions extends back into pre-Hispanic times. Pyramids, temples, murals, textiles and religious objects were painted or colored ochre red, bright green, burnt orange, various yellows and turquoise. These would be joined by other colors introduced by European and Asian contact, but always in bold tones.Even the production of colors ties into the history of craft making. Red pigment since pre-Hispanic times has made from thecochinealbug, which is crushed, dried and ground to a powder to mix into a liquid base.