Looms and ovens from the tableland

Cocucho

Purepecha culture

The Purépecha plateau, like all of the Don Vasco Route, is a land of craftsmen. It consists of rugged terrain and small communities, where traditional ways of life have been preserved. A land of artists with a fertile imagination and perfect command of traditional techniques.

Cocucho is famous for its unmistakable “cocuchas” large clay pots prized by collectors and decorators, which, instead of storing food, are now used as ornaments or transformed into containers for cooking food. Incidentally, craftswomen such as Angélica Santos Molina and Bernardina Santos do not use either a potter’s wheel or a kiln. Their expert hands shape the clay, which is fired in outdoor bonfires.

Ocumicho is the town of devils and satire. Here artisans, such as the Rafael Julián family, dream up thousands of everyday scenes which they humorously depict in clay. They let their imaginations run wild with clay and wood masks and alebrijes (fantastic, papier mache figures). In many communities women learn to weave and embroider from their mothers. Weavers such as Victoria Bravo and Rosa Soto de Angahuan weave wool and cotton on waist looms.

In Charapan, the famous wool overcoats are usually made by men such as Moisés Reyes on a conventional loom. But perhaps the most spectacular work involves shawls finished with feathers, a pre-Hispanic technique restored by the Bautista family in Ahuiran . Some of these shawls are on display at the Museum of Popular Arts in Mexico City.

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We recommend

  • Visit the Michoacan House of Handicrafts in Morelia, with an extraordinary selection of artisanal products from all over the state. In Angahuan, at the entrance to the village, there is also a community craft center. Visit the best-known markets: In Pátzcuaro on the Night of the Dead or in Uruapan on Ramos Sunday.

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Benito Juárez s/n, Col. Centro. 60240 Cocucho, Charapan

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