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 Culture & Traditions

The Art of Creating Trees of Life by May Herz

Mexican Trees of Life or Arboles de la Vida are one of the most popular expressions of Mexican folk art.  For more than 100 years Metepec, in the State of Mexico, has been known for its unique ceramic creations, mainly the Arbol de la Vida, tree of life, a clay sculpture covered with flowers, leaves and biblical figures. In essence it is a multi-decorated candelabra.

Trees of Life used to have as a central theme the Garden of Eden. Nowadays many other stories are recounted through this splendid clay sculptures…Mexico’s history, the Day of the Dead, The Nativity, Noah’s Ark, and some are even autobiographical, telling the potter’s or the customer’s own story.

Mexican Arboles can be traced back to the early colonial period when Spanish Friars commissioned the indigenous potters to create candelabras with biblical figures such as Adam and Eve. It was a way of evangelizing or teaching the Catholic faith to the New World incorporating elements of their own culture, such as their ceramic traditions.

This magnificent expression of Mexican Folk Art is thought to have begun either in in Izucar de Matamoros in the state of Puebla or Metepec in the State of Mexico  . Nowadays there are three localities where these fabulous works of art are created: MetepecIzucar de Matamoros and Acatlan.


Day of the Dead
Tree of Life


Tree of Life


Noah’s Ark
Tree of Life

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