As you drive in the Puuc region take note that in these hills there are great clay mines that the local creators use to produce their pieces. There are three places we recommend for shopping for good quality pots, statuettes and other items made from the local clay. At Arte Maya you will find museum and collection quality Mayan pieces that include delicate replicas of Mayan gods, replicas of Jaina figurines, bowls and urns. The owner, Señora Lourdes, is a gifted artisan with a unique showroom that includes an outdoor display of her huge pieces, a large workshop school with pieces along the walls, and a smaller gallery where her collection-quality pieces are located. Lourdes works in ceramics, alabaster, stone and jade. The prices of her unique pieces range from $20 pesos to $50,000 pesos ($2 USD to $5000 USD approximately). When you see the pieces you will understand the prices. She produces fine, delicate work. Approaching Ticul from Muna, Arte Maya is the first showroom on the left-hand side of the road.
Further down the main road, on the left hand side, you will come to Ratinxul. This store is the place to buy the huge pots and planters that you see in local Mérida homes and gardens. Stroll the shop, take note of their pieces and wander towards the back where you will see the crafters and large oven where the pieces are baked using firewood. If one of the large pieces suits your fancy, don’t worry. The store is well versed in sending pottery worldwide. They also have smaller more whimsical pieces (frogs, seashells, starfish, etc.) that will fit right in your suitcase.
And last but definitely not least, further on this same road, and once again, on the left hand side, you will come to Arte y Decoración Maya owned by the master artisan Andres Mena. Master Andres offers a wonderful conglomeration of pieces. His store is a showroom where you will enjoy strolling and looking at each piece. He has large pots and planters, huge stellae and replicas of Mayan gods, smaller replica pieces, Mayan incense holders, masks, urns, large swan planters, wall sconces and whimsical pieces. You will also find a showcase with interesting jewelry. Continue your stroll out back to see the molds, wood burning ovens and artisans hard at work.
Ticul, with all the clay and pottery, is a bit dusty. All the above-mentioned shops have open air facades and you will find many of the pieces are also dusty. Don’t let this fool you – look past the dust and notice the beauty of each piece. And do consider buying a piece or two or more! All of these places will do a good job wrapping the pieces you choose. They are wonderful conversation pieces or gifts, and a pleasure to have in your home. If you are interested in clay masks of gods, you will find unique and beautiful masks as well at Arte Maya and Arte y Decoración Maya.
The prehispanic Mayan people were known for their beautiful ceramics. An example of the finest pieces of this work are the figures of Jaina, found on the island of the same name, off the north coast of the city of Campeche. It is known that the members of the upper class buried their dead together with these figures, whose rich details give us an idea of how they used to dress and adorn themselves.
Today, the town of Ticul is the most important pottery center of the state of Yucatán. In the past, one of the specialties of Ticul pottery were the tanks created to store water that was usually obtained from natural springs and wells. Over time, with new materials being used for water storage tanks, these utensils have lost their function. But in spite of the difficulties this has caused, the pottery industry of Ticul has grown, showing its ability to adapt to change. Thanks to their creativity, the artisans have manufactured a variety of objects ranging from traditional whistles and objects used for altars for the dead, to decorative objects such as pots for plants and flowers, therby offering consumers a wide variety of products and maintaining a noble and rich tradition.
Thanks to Casa de las Artesanías de Yucatán for their collaboration on this article.
Casa de las Artesanías de Yucatán
Calle 63 x 64 y 66, Centro
(beside Iglesia de Monjas)
and Paseo de Montejo x 41 y 43
– Hotel Plaza Ticul