Mexican Lacquer

January 18, 2009 at 8:27 pm 8 comments

trunk-purple-bedspread-01In previous posts I have noted that Casa Mexicana is my favorite Mexican folk art store in Dallas. I desire to own almost everything they sell. In my dreams, I have a much larger house completely filled with artwork from their shop.

A few years ago, one of the coolest pieces that I had my eye on actually came home with me thanks to my fabulous husband Mike. I loved the shape and colors of this trunk and it caught my eye every time I visited Casa Mexicana. It was months before I got really close and examined the trunk, I didn’t want to raise the lust levels. When I finally gave in and peered closely, I couldn’t believe what I saw, cats!trunk-purple-bedspread-01-closeup-red-circle Imagine that. Me liking something that had cats involved and I didn’t even realize that at first.

trunk-purple-bedspread-02-closeup-red-circleWell, you can guess what that did to my lust levels. Like an oil strike, gushing ensued. My wonderful husband, my knight in shining armour, purchased the trunk as my Christmas gift. Have I ever mentioned that I love him?

After bringing the trunk home, I began the Internet research. The shop owners explained a little about the village, Olinala, where the trunk was created and the process involved. When you open the trunk, the wood it is trunk-purple-open-bedspread-01made from, linaloe, has a very pleasant scent.  I found interesting process info here and here. The creation of these wonderful lacquer pieces takes many tedious steps and a great deal of artistry. What I’ve read indicates that entire families are involved in the production of lacquer goods.

I wondered how my trunk came to look so Chinese when it came from deep in Mexico. One of the sources from which to purchase Mexican lacquer, a shop called Lacquer of Olinala, offers this: “The local arts and crafts of Olinalá of the XVII and XVIII centuries, is certainly characterized and derived from a Chinese influence in the decoration of the porcelain brought by the Nao of the Phillipines to the western coast of Mexico. The motifs were made in Chinese red or bright vermilion with an overlapping of layers and decorations. Figures like the tree of the life were used with two facing birds, fantastic foliages with birds overhead, flowers and stylized fruits, all with an unmistakable Asian flavor that transformed gradually adapting to the traditional Indian style.

In my web searching for more info, I stumbled upon an on-line photo album of the village of Olinala and of their annual lacquer festival. There are quite a few photos and lots of captions, well worth the visit: photo album.

Finally, if you really want to go see the lacquer being created, the NYTimes had a travel story today all about visiting Olinala. The article also contains lots of interesting information about Mexican lacquer ware creation and history.

As always, click on the photos above to see an enlargement.



Entry filed under: art, crafts, Dallas, Mexican folk art.

Dachshund Looking For Love

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Donna  |  January 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    That chest totally rocks. It’s awesome, I love it. Goes well with the purple bedspread!! You are lucky to have it.

  • 2. Vida Muerte  |  January 28, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    great to find someone else so enamoured with Mexican Folk Art, I have just started a blog to share some wonderful information I have picked up over the last 18months selling Mexicana!

    • 3. phaskins  |  January 29, 2009 at 8:29 am

      Mexican folk art is my favorite. One of these days I’m gonna go to Oaxaca.

  • 4. Gabriel  |  August 19, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Hello, I just happened to fall uppon your webpage while looking around for some nice bedspreads and I must say that that trunk is indeed quite amazing. But I simply MUST know where you got that bedspread, lol.

  • 7. Marlene  |  May 13, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I am very proud to hear that you like this type of mexican art so much! And I’m even more proud to share with you that I am mexican, and my father is from Ollinalá as well as my Grandmother. So, I grew up loving our “cajitas de Olinalá¨, having this art around me since I was a little girl. I always had some kind of little box for my jewerly, or photoframes, decorated from Olinalá. I love the smell of Linaloe. That wood is just amazing.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful art with the world!

    My parents have a very similar trunk (of course the decorations are as unique as yours) which is why I was surprise to find a picture on the internet of something so unique from home! I had to look closer. I knew right away it was from Olinalá, so I had to read your blog to see what you said!

    Good choice. You are lucky to have one!

  • 8. Thanan  |  January 5, 2011 at 8:14 am

    It’s very beautiful.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed



I crochet, sew, draw, paint, paper mache, embroider, shoot photos, play piano, sing and have a graphic artist full time job. But not all at the same time.
Headquartered in Dallas, TX.

Drop me a line.



past posts archive

%d bloggers like this: