The Nahua Indians of Guerrero, Mexico, are famed for their unique
paintings on bark paper - paper fashioned from tree bark. Originally,
their artwork was featured on their pottery, but their customers were so
enamoured with the intricacies of the ceramic work, they prodded them
into creating wall art.
The term amate
refers to that type of paper made from tree bark. The Otomi Indians
usually make this fine paper from fig trees. It is a time consuming
process as the bark is washed, then boiled and then set out in lines.
The artisans use stones or rocks to beat the bark until the wood pieces
The colors of the amate paintings are vibrant and
depict village, wildlife and traditions and look vibrant against the
naturally dark brown of the bark paper. Due to the nature of bark paper, it is variegated,
just as is tree bark.
Each of these amate paintings is large, approximately 23 inches high by 15-1/2 inches wide. Because of the natural materials, there may be a slight variation.