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Handmade Pottery: Women Artisans of Lenca Tribe

Lenca Handmade Pottery – Central America

Handmade Pottery

Descendants of the Lenca, an indigenous ethnic tribe of Honduras and the eastern portion of San Salvador, are responsible for producing some of the most unique and impressive handmade pottery to be found in the Americas.

It is in fact the Lenca women who are the skilled artisans of this handmade pottery, applying preserved techniques of their craft from pre-Columbian times handed down through generations from mother to daughter. Fully developed in the creative process and appreciated for sublime workmanship, each piece is unique and reflects both ethnic tradition and contemporary creativity.

This skilled combination is the result of a conscious effort to blend old with new styles and the delightful fusion that results is an artistic leap conjuring up a current, often edgy, spin on the ancient Lenca style.

The aesthetics of this handmade pottery, crafted individually from hand-formed local clays, are notable with imaginative forms and shapes including conical pots, flattened bowls and leaning, lipped vases. Many of these artistic pieces lend themselves perfectly to eclectic interior design, and some can be electrically outfitted for use as handsome lamp bases.

What draws the eye initially to these handmade pottery pieces of art is the

Lenca Tribe - Handmade Pottery

striking “spotted” (traditionally recalling spots of the moon) or contemporary geometric designs employing the Lenca’s pre-Columbian techniques. Depending on the selected clay and the of utilization of pine smoke during firing, the finished pottery ranges in distinctive dark hues with color and design combinations of black and white, deep burnt-orange and black, or rich coffee-brown and black.

Using low-temperature wood ovens, each Lenca handmade pottery piece is cured over a twenty-two day time frame. Thereafter, each artistic object is hand-polished with a stone producing a subtle sheen to its finish.

The majority of Lenca tribes live in remote mountainous areas. While the men typically work in surrounding coffee fields, the income generated by the sale of the women’s art provides a continuity of tribal life. Unlike many other indigenous tribes without a means to sustain their culture, the Lenca proudly relish their heritage and their art which allows them the freedom to continue their tribal life without being forced to emerge into a subservient or poverty-stricken lifestyle.

Prized by handmade pottery collectors, coveted by indigenous arts aficionados, and delighting unique gift shoppers and recipients, these beautiful Lenca art objects are more than reasonably priced and as such is precisely the kind of native art that Galería Namu is honored to offer. It is only fitting that Namu makes this wonderful art part of its indigenous arts collection. Click here to view our current Lenca pottery and other indigenous arts collection.

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