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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

El Arbol de Vida, Oaxaca

I was in Oaxaca in the days after Christmas this year and everywhere I went there were crèches and tress of life.  I love the tree of life as it is made in Mexico.  It is made of clay and often painted bright colors.  It exudes a zest for life, and the one pictured here, in the courtyard outside the restaurant Las Danzantes. They were made to teach the creation story.  It is a playful teaching device.

What I did not realize that this originated in Mexico.  The first potter to develop the more intricate candelabra and incense burners was Aurelio Flores, who began making them in the 1920's.

Besides their use at church the clay candelabra were also given to newlyweds to ensure them a good harvest referring not only to children but to their livelihood as a farming community. This custom has dwindled in the last years, which is a shame.

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