Friday, January 2, 2015

Feliz Año Nuevo - Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Oaxaca, Mexico!  My husband and I are making a long-time dream come true in 2015.  We are living in Oaxaca for part of the year!
Oaxaca's beautiful Zocolo (central plaza). 
Two years ago, we spent a month here and this year we are expanding our stay to three months. We have rented a delightful little house on the outskirts of Oaxaca (near a bus line).  We just moved in last night and are very pleased with our new abode.  We have 2 bedrooms, a tiled kitchen, living room/dining area and a private garden sitting area with a lime tree and blooming poinsettias!
 Oaxaca is famous for its black, burnished pottery.
I will be writing more about how this adventure affects my creative journey in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime, I am re-posting a piece I wrote in March 2013, on the Oaxaca Jewelry Museum.  Enjoy! 
My husband and I spent 5 weeks in Mexico last fall.  We rented a small house, in the beautiful colonial city of Oaxaca, for 4 of those weeks.  I could talk for hours about our experiences there, but for today, I'd like to share our visit to the Belber Jimenez Museum. 

Belber Jimenez Museum

 This museum has an extensive collection of Mexican jewelry from pre-Colombian times through the early 20th century.  The museum is based on the jewelry and craft collection of an internationally known Oaxacan jeweler, Belbar Jimenez; who now resides in the United States.

Unfortunately for me, all of the signage was in Spanish.  My Spanish ability is pretty sketchy, but I will do my best to share the bits I understood.

The first pieces of jewelry I will share, were found in the nearby archaeological ruins of Monte Alban.  My husband and I visited this amazing site.   Its sheer size is almost unfathomable.  Archaeologists are still at work in Monte Alban and they continue to excavate temples and other ceremonial buildings.

Beautiful jewelry was discovered at Monte Alban and it is treasured both for its artistry, as well as its value as a cultural heritage.  (A bit of a disclaimer here:  All the jewelry was behind glass and the lighting was often quite dim.  Therefore picture quality is poorer than I wish it were.)
Monte Alban jewelry
The picture below is of Monte Alban reproduction jewelry, (from a different museum).  Monte Alban jewelry has such cultural value that not just anyone is authorized to reproduce it.  You have to get a government license to do so and only the very finest jewelers will qualify.

Here is a YouTube video showing the work of some jewelers creating Monte Alban reproductions.
Moving onward to the colonial period, the Spanish introduced filigree jewelry, which they, in turn, learned from  Byzantine goldsmiths' work.

There was also a nice collection of jewelry from the early 1900's through the 1920's. Apparently there was quite a  renaissance in Mexican jewelry during that time.  I believe that the next two pieces are from the early 1900's, but I am not certain.

This necklace was created in the 1920's, but the motif is based on an ancient Zapotec fishing story.

I can't remember the date for this next necklace.  It looks to me like something from the 40's or 50's maybe.

There is one more picture that I wish I could share.  It is  jewelry that Frida Kahlo was wearing when she died - jewelry that was a gift from Diego Rivera.  However before I could take that picture, a museum employee told me that I wasn't allowed to take any pictures in the museum.  Luckily he did not make me erase the pictures I had taken so far, which is why I can share this jewelry with you today.  I hope you have enjoyed this little jewelry museum tour!


  1. I can't wait to see more pictures of your visit, and the work that is inspired by it!

  2. Thanks Karen. I'm anxious to see where this leads me too!

  3. Great place!! I love Mexico and look forward to seeing what you make!! Enjoy yourselves and Happy New Year Linda!!

  4. Oaxaca was the favorite part of my trip to Mexico, too, so I know you will enjoy your extended visit there. Feliz año nuevo.

  5. These are very beautiful and seem to be inspired by many traditions - I am able to see Influence of Yemen, Byzantine, India and renaissance period in these pieces

  6. Wonderful post Linda. Thanx for sharing. I can see how your trip would influence your jewelry making. Those black burnished pottery and the filigree are lovely.

  7. Linda, how wonderful that your dream is coming through. When I saw the photo of the burnished pot I immediately hoped that you had taken silicone putty with you. A lot of silicone putty. It's not for museums but there appear to be textures there that are worth capturing. May your experience be wonderful!

  8. Linda I am so jealous of your stay in Oaxaca, and for a whole 3 months! I can't wait to see how this inspires your work!!

  9. Here's to dreams coming true!!! Congratulations to you, and I wish you a fabulous stay!!

  10. Oh, what a wonderful way to spend the heart of the winter! I look forward to hearing more about your adventures.

  11. How wonderful you get to go live in such a beautiful place for a time. Thanks for sharing the jewelry - too bad about that Frida jewelry! Such wonderful ornate designs in this jewelry.


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