Antonio Guzman Hernández, Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca

Antonio Guzman Hernández, Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca

Antonio Guzmán Hernández is a third generation jicara grabado artisan from Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca. The area around his pueblo (village) is rich in tree life — ceibas (genus of trees in the Malvaceace family), trees whose bark is used to make amate (handmade paper), palms, jícaras (type of gourd from the calabash tree) and guapinoles (hardwood tree used for furniture, flooring, & decoration). 

Hundreds of people make objects with the fruit of the jícara trees, which can be found in almost all the courtyards of the houses or in the streets. Its spherical fruits have been used to produce utilitarian objects — drinking glasses, purses, toys, pencil holders, napkin rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces, among others. Antonio has taken the use of the jicara to a new level.

Jicara grabada is a living tradition, whose uses and functions remain utilitarian in the pueblo but have grown into a decorative art form. The process is laborious. This is the medium that Antonio uses to create his jicaras grabada (carved gourds). It is said that this is work of the poor — it doesn’t cost a peso to produce.

Once a gourd is dry, it can be cut and polished with fine sandpaper. They cannot produce large quantities because everything is done by hand. There are no copies — each one is unique — each one is different.

Antonio creates relief design on the jícaras; his imagination and skill allowing him to capture on their surfaces a particular aesthetic and symbolism. The main tool for carving has a metal tip that he gets from knives or machetes.

So far, the Chinese have not been able to reproduce them because machines cannot be used. The gourds are cut, polished and hand carved, with indigenous, traditional drawings. This is art, each gourd is unique made with the hands of the maestro and cannot be reproduced by a machine. 

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Barrio Grande

Pinotepa de Don Luis, Oaxaca

954 154 82 71 cell