Simona López Gómez/Grupo Ben Tsam, Amatenango del Valle, Chiapas

Simona López Gómez/Grupo Ben Tsam, Amatenango del Valle, Chiapas

Amatenango del Valle, Chiapas is a small town one hour south of San Cristóbal de las Casas on the International Highway to the Guatemala border. Most men are farmers and women potters, although men are slowly joining the women in making pottery. Traditionally, the men are farmers and help the women, when time permits, to paint the pottery. She is working with her sister- in- law Bernarda and also with the women of her group Ben Tsam.

This pottery has been produced for centuries and  was utilitarian for religious purposes,  but started becoming decorative in the 70s when the demand for clayware diminished because metal pots and pans and plastic were more popular for kitchen use..

Simona López Gómez, like all the other women, started modeling small animals when she was eight years old and she started learning to work the clay when she was 11 or 12 after she finished school.  She learned from her mother and famous aunt Doña Juliana.

Doña Juliana became famous for her clay pots in the shape of doves in the early 80s and pretty soon after, the women of the town started making clay doves as well. 

Around the 80s Alberto Bautista began producing jaguars and the town followed suit — Simona also produces jaguars. , frogs, chicken, vases and many other pieces, but she is mostly known for her jaguars and palomas (doves).

Grupo Ben Tsam

20 de Noviembre s/n 

(Esq Calle las Casas) Centro

Amatenango del Valle, Chiapas 29432

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