This is Maya. She is the jaguar who watches over Casa de los Tulipanes. Maya is the progeny of the late Alberto Bautista Gomez who specialized in burnished clay pieces. Bautista Gomez began working with clay in his teens in his village of Amatenango del Valle in Chiapas, Mexico under his grandmother’s tutelage. All the materials he uses are gathered locally from Amatenango and neighboring villages. He would grind and sift all of his own clay to make his pieces.
“The firing is done on the ground, the pieces covered with broken pieces of pottery and burning wood, forming a sort of pyre. The process takes a little over an hour and the low temperatures at which the pieces are baked result in their being porous and fragile. After the fire dies down, they are left to cool in the same spot…
“Alberto utilizes a red pigment from the achiote (annatto) tree and lampblack, diluted with water, which he applies with brushes improvised from bird feathers. The magic of these natural paints converts the uniform texture of the clay into an elegant combination of colors.” –from Great Masters of Mexican Folk Art; Formento Cultural Banamex, A.C., 1998