Prior to the arrival of Spanish invaders, papel amate was made by the Aztec and Maya communities for use in healing rituals, as well as for creating codices. Most of these codices were later destroyed and this paper was banned as it was believed to be used for witchcraft and magic.
Papel amate is made by sustainably harvesting local tree bark, including the same that’s used to make our tree bark baskets. The bark is soaked in hot water and lime for roughly eight hours to whiten the hue. Later, it's rinsed in clean water for days, then beaten on a board with a stone, in order to create the desired pattern. The pieces are then dried on a board in the Mexican sun. With the feel of peering through lace curtains at the night time constellations, this custom design is made exclusively for our stock. It can be matted and framed as a single piece, or hung together in multiples for an intriguing, minimalist art display.
Our custom works are handmade by an indigenous Otomi father and son, and their family. They produce these sublime examples of ancestral artistry in a small pueblo in Central Mexico. Despite restrictions being placed on this paper during Spanish occupation, this town is one of the few that persevered with this process, and this artistic practice remains an important part of their culture.
Spiritual leaders in this town are said to have the ability to produce paper with magical properties. Local shamans make paper figures which are used to connect with the mountain spirits, in the interest of encouraging cleansing in healing rituals. This paper is also made for decorative purposes to be sold on the commercial market, which has helped to reduce poverty in this region, particularly for women, as many of the local men left for the USA for work.
Approximately 40cm x 40cm
For best care results regarding storage, these pieces should be stored flat in a dry environment, in order to prevent mildew.
TThe noted price is for a single print in this design and size. The paper comes packed flat on a piece of cardboard, and is unframed for safer transit. Every one of these custom works are made by hand, and with this, no two pieces are exactly the same. Given the nature of handmade, sizes, patterns, designs and hues may vary slightly from the featured product image. Feel free to contact us for framing ideas.
All listed prices are in USD and do not include shipping. Our website is not currently set up for e-commerce – please contact us directly to purchase: firstname.lastname@example.org.