Already the classical pre-Columbian Maya were outstanding artists elaborating beautifully painted pottery and ceramics, carved wooden lintels, wall paintings, hand-woven textiles, and musical instruments. Contemporary Maya people continue in that tradition and a variety of crafts are found especially in the highlands of Guatemala.
In each village the women wear different traditional ‘huipiles’ or blouses which all have their own design and color combination. Designs show motives from nature such as mountains, birds, rainbows, earth, water and the sunrise. The blouses are hand-woven on back strap looms and the women have extended their weaving still to also elaborate table sets and other decorative items expressing the colorfulness of Mayan textile weaving.
The main villages that produce pottery are Chinautla (jars and items such as angels, churches, etc.) and Rabinal (jars with Mayan shapes painted on them with lively colors), San Antonio Atitlan (blue and white ceramics) and Totonicapan.
Old tradition in Chichicastenango and Totonicapan inherited from the Spanish. The masks are sculpted and painted wood. The masks are still worn and presented in traditional village dances that are performed to honor the patron saint of the town.
In Antigua you'll find all kinds of candles. They are used in great quantity for decoration in individual houses, hotels and weddings.
JADE, JEWELS AND MASKS
Jade had a very special importance for the Maya kings, who often were buried with a Jade death mask on their face. Jade signified power, status and eternity for the Maya kings who adorned themselves with Jade necklaces and bracelets; also their nahuals (protector spirit) and personal gods were often carved in jade stones. Guatemala’s Jade is of a much higher quality than Chinese Jade and for that reason Guatemala specializes in masks and quality jewels. In Antigua Guatemala you can find several factories and some of them offer tours to the workshops.
Owl "Piggy Bank"