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Papel Amate, or painted bark paper, is an art form with clear pre-Hispanic origins. The handmade paper was originally considered a specialty of the village shaman and used only for special rituals. Decades later, the Otomi of Puebla began using bark paper as a canvas for painting. Typically, artisans will craft the paper from fig or mulberry tree bark, then sell or trade the homemade paper to other indigenous groups for decoration.
Most of our Traditional bark paintings are by Luis Cabrera Ortiz. Luis is a Nahua from the village of San Augustin Oapan, in the Rio Balsas river valley of Guerrero. Luis and his family have been painting scenes of colorful birds and other local wildlife on handmade bark paper for three generations.