Chorotega Pottery Costa Rica (Chorotega Craftsman) – Costa Rican Artisans, Costa Rican Artisans, Culture of Costa Rica
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Costa Ricans produce a wide variety of crafts, and one of the country’s most important artistic traditions is the creation of pottery.
Chorotega Pottery is very important part of our culture in Guanacaste for being an ancient tradition that was learned from our ancestors The Chorotegas Indigenous.
The salient potteries are produced by Guaitil residents of Santa Cruz and San Vicente of Nicoya (towns with over 5,000 years of tradition in pottery) . They work the clay using traditional techniques and indigenous ancestral Chorotegas, that once inhabited this part of the country.
They found pottery dating more than 2,500 years which means pottery activity has a pre-Hispanic origin.
The history data shows the production of ceramics in the early XX century, an activity where men participate only in obtaining raw materials and preparation thereof. Women developed the activity and shared their knowledge from generation to generation within the family.
Materials and preparation:
In the area of San Vicente and Guatil, the materials are brought from mountains , which are usually extracted from the mud of a local hill that once cast mix it with sand “iguana”-black color (located near the iguana nests).
From the same place or in mountain, artisans bring the ground stones; black, red and white and then mixed with water and clay to make the pigments what they called Curiol used to decorate the pieces . There are several colors and is said that if you come to the hill making noise, the red color get hidden from you!
After this, the parts are molded by hand, they paint with lines, points, geometrical shapes, animals, etc.. Subsequently they place in a traditional oven, where they are burned and cleaned, and finally be polish.
Agricultural societies indigenous been elaborated the pottery for utilitarian purposes such as cooking and food storage as well pieces more complex with polychrome zoomorphic forms, for ritual purposes and usually placed them on the graves.
All cooking containers were made in ceramic . The water had kept fresh in this pieces.
Nimbuera: A word “composed” by other two words. “Nimbu”: water and “؟Era?” or “Uhpu”: Container. Means ,Container to keep fresh water.
Chorotega Inspired Pottery
One of the most famous places where pottery is created in Costa Rica is the village of Guaitil, which is located in the highlands of the Nicoya Peninsula in the province of Guanacaste. Here, artisans craft clay art that draws on the pre-Columbian style of the Chorotega Indians, an indigenous group that traces its roots to Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. Although the Chorotega people have mostly been absorbed into modern Costa Rican culture, their tradition of making pottery still endures, having been passed down from generation to generation for more than 800 years. The Chorotega-inspired pottery of Guaitil is made using sand from three mountains in the surrounding region, with the highest-quality raw materials being found in the openings of iguana nests. These pots are known for their use of natural colors, particularly from the tan, black and red ochre sand harvested by local craftspeople.
Created by Hand
Once Guaitil’s artisans have collected their sand, they grind the material using a large mortar and pestle until it turns into clay. After the clay is ready, the artists create their pots entirely by hand, forgoing the use of electricity or a foot petal. The craftspeople carve their pots with Chorotega symbols denoting power and fertility, then they wash the outside of their pots with a contrasting color of clay in order to make the designs more visible. Finally, the pottery is fired in an igloo-shaped earthen kiln, which uses a wood-burning fire to harden the clay.
Another place known for its pottery is the region of Santa Ana. Visitors to the Central Costa Rican canton will find a diverse array of ceramics and other clay art. The area’s many shops sell large greenware bowls, urns, vases, coffee mugs and miniature houses, each of which is lovingly crafted at one of the region’s many family-owned workshops.
One of Costa Rica’s most notable ceramic artists is Cecilia Facio Pecas Figueres, who goes by the nickname Pefi. Her work is known for its humor and whimsy, and many of her brightly colored pieces feature flowers, fruits and monkeys.