As a republic, you could say Mexico is very young, but our traditions and culture have a long and winding history. Aztec frescoes give us a glimpse of social and religious life and the Aztecs' fascinating cosmology. Portraits and religious paintings from Miguel Cabrera reflect character of New Spain, and the Neoclassical school in the late 19th century distills an obviously European scent.
Yet the Mexican revolution brought with it an urgent need to develop an authentic Mexican identity based on local models and traditions. With artists such as Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros leading the field in painting, Pablo Moncayo, Carlos Chavez and Jose Rolon at the forefront in music, and Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo in photography, Mexico gradually found its own very national avant-garde.
In the second half of the 20th century, however, a new artistic movement arrived on the scene with a manifesto totally opposite to its predecessors. Traditional landscapes, portraits of indigenous people and folkloric themes went out of the window, and abstract paintings by Manuel Felguerez, Rufino Tamayo and Luis Nishisawa became the trademark of the Generacion de la ruptura (The Generation of rupture).
For the Aztecs, there was no difference between artists and artisans, so pottery, basket making, and weaving were all part of the ancient culture's artistic production. Nowadays, skilled Mexican hands keep ancient traditions alive in countless villages. Complex patterned rugs from looms in Teotitlan, Oaxaca, unique pottery pieces from Quiroga, Michoacan, and the world-renowned Talavera ceramics from Puebla, are just a sample of the wide variety of artisan crafts Mexico offers for the culturally curious.
A trip across Mexico means a journey into the country's ancient culture and its rich present. In the form of a rug, a pot or a traditional embroidered dress –whatever you decide to take back with you– welcome both past and present into your home.