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Life and Death in Teotihuacan Handcrafted Mexican Ceramic Skull Mask

Life and Death in Teotihuacan Handcrafted Mexican Ceramic Skull Mask

Regular price $92.95
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SKU: SKU: SK-NVC-243723

Product Features
Working with Fair Trade certified organizations is an important part of what we do. This product is made by artisans that are fairly compensated for their skilled work, and helps provide a living wage as well as safe work conditions.

A skull opens to reveal a living face in this intriguing mask from Mexico. 'Part represents life, part represents death. This exemplifies the ancient Mesoamerican concept of duality,' artisans from the Angel Cerón Artisan Association explain. Day and night, hot and cold, dark and light — this thought was present in almost all philosophical and religious ideas, extending as far south as the Andes.

  • materials: Ceramic
  • Signed by the artist
  • May present subtle cracks
  • Hand-crafted item -- color, size and/or motif may vary slightly
  • Intended as wall decor
13 in. H x 11 in. W x 3.5 in. D

Artisan Information

Angel Ceron Artisan Association

Shop all Angel Ceron Artisan Association products

Update (July, 2019)

I've been working hand-in-hand with you since 2003. It was my nephew, Eduardo Escamilla, who suggested this, and I found the project to be spectacular. As you may know, I'm an engineer by profession but I feel an overwhelming passion for our pre-Hispanic cultures. This is what led me to create my own representations of the deities from our past. This has been a process in which, together with my family, we've continuously perfected our designs and this is also because I love perfection.

Thanks to all of you, I was able to become more independent and offer work to more families who assist me. Together with my nephew Eduardo, I've increased the number of designs so that our collection shows a wide range of sculptures.

One of the most significant challenges I've had to face was my battle with cancer. Unfortunately, it's come back even more intensely, but every member of my family has always been with me. Sadly, my cancer is terminal now, and my family is always by my side.

Today, my health prevents me from looking after each detail of my work, as I always used to. But the artisans who assist me in the workshop are some of the finest talents in Mexico.

The Angel Ceron Artisan Association is composed of Milton González, Emilio Espejel, Brian Gonzalez, Isaac Espejel, Adrian Gonzalez, Josefina Claudio, Jorge Esparza, Saul Landon, Mauricio Hernandez, Guadalupe Lopez, Magdalena Torres, and Erick Contreras. Everyone is charged with a type of sculpture and specializes in a particular technique.

Original Artisan Story

Angel Cerón comes from a family with generations of artisan experience. He learned the family ceramic techniques from his father, Antonio Cerón Orta, a renowned artisan. Angel began a long study of Mexico's pre-Hispanic cultures and learned the Nahuatl language spoken in ancient Mesoamerica.

First the proper materials must be acquired. Cerón uses clay from northern Oaxaca state, the only clay of this kind in Mexico and perhaps in the world. The unique characteristics of this yellow clay make it ideal for molding. It dries evenly and is especially hard, thus it is resistant to impact and can withstand very high temperatures.

The clay is ground in a mill, deposited in tubs of water and stirred constantly until it acquires a homogeneous consistency. This step can take hours. Left to stand for three days, it remains a thick liquid. Cerón strains it and lets it repose one more day, although during the winter this is hard work, performed in the open air. The blocks are divided into smaller portions and dried in the sun for several hours. Only a qualified artisan can determine when the clay has reached the proper consistency. Then it is kneaded by hand, much as one kneads bread dough, and again it is the skilled artisan who can tell when it is ready to be worked.

Cerón then begins to shape his sculptures, some more complex than others. The details are created totally by hand and some figures are so complicated that they are absolutely unique or part of limited editions. Each piece is modeled by hand and the artisan's talent is a crucial factor.

Once shaped, the sculptures dry as long as needed, some for as long as a week. They must dry in the shade because the clay might split and crack in the sun. Once dry, they are adorned with mineral pigments and high-fired at temperatures of up to 2,327º F for eight to twelve hours, depending on the season (the kilns are located outdoors). After firing, the pieces need to stand for six hours, cooling gradually.

Finally, they receive a bath of earth to give them their unique antique effect, which features slight cracks.

Now that I'm retired, I can dedicate my time to my great passion – representing my pre-Hispanic cultural heritage, Cerón says.

Supplier Information

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NOVICA was started with a dream to create a better world for artisans, because a better world for artisans is a better world for all.

Along the way, the founders of NOVICA discovered something very important - as artisans around the world succeeded, there was also a visible and profound impact on the communities around them.

Your purchases are that powerful. They directly and indirectly provide for education, help with health care, fund basic needs, support children, preserve disappearing arts, and of course, spread happiness around the world.

The founders of NOVICA had a vision of the future that is not one of mega factories producing cookie cutter products for all to cheaply consume. Instead, a bright future that celebrates artisans who take the time to create an item by hand. A future where time is protected, where stories are told, where unique details are honored. Love, respect, inclusiveness become driving force.

Shipping

United States shipping only. Expedited shipping is unavailable. Allow for 1-2 days extra processing time. This product may ship separately from other products in your order and may have longer than normal shipping timelines as it will ship directly from its country of origin.

Returns

All sales of this product are final -- we do not accept returns or issue replacements unless there is a defect with the product. Please review our Returns & Exchanges policy.

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