Behind the Design

Bark Paintings are a Unique Art Form

July 26, 2013

Bark Paintings are one of the most unique art forms in the world. Mexican bark painting is a folk art in which artists paint scenes of everyday village life, colorful birds, flowers and other animals on paper which is handmade from bark. The art form is also used to illustrate scenes from traditional fables and stories. The bark paper, also known papel amate, is used as the canvas for the artwork. The Nahua Indians of Guerrero, Mexico have transferred their skills of intricate painting on pottery to painting on paper made from the bark of trees.

Bark paper is produced by hand in the state of Puebla by Otomi Indians using bark from the mulberry or fig trees. The mulberry tree creates off-white paper, while the fig tree creates much darker paper. The bark is washed, boiled, and laid in lines on a wooden board. The fibers are then beaten with a stone until they fuse together.

The paper finds its way to the Nahua Indians of southern Mexico who have excelled for several generations at painting bright village and wildlife scenes on the hand-made paper. In addition, La Fuente is proud to offer classic Mayan bark paintings that depict important deities and glyphs in Mayan culture.

The craft of Mexican bark painting dates back to the pre-Hispanic era with its origin in the present-day Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz with the Otomi people. The art survived Spanish colonialism, and was revitalized during the mid-20th century in Guerrero state. When synthetic paints were introduced into rural areas in Mexico in the 1950's, artists fell in love with the bright colors, which produce amazing contrast against the bark paper.

La Fuente Imports offers numerous styles of Bark Paintings including our selection of Traditional Bark Paintings and Mayan Paintings . If you're interested in adding a showpiece to your home then select one of our One-of-a-Kind Exclusive Bark Paintings today!

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