The Mixteca-Puebla Tradition
Puebla, a state located in East-Central Mexico, originated from the city of the same name founded by the Spanish in 1531. In pre-Columbian times, the region was inhabited by ethnicities including the Mixtecs. The term Mixtecs (or Mixteca) comes from the Nahuatl word mixtecah, meaning "cloud people." One of the major indigenous civilizations of Mesoamerica, today they inhabit the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla in the La Mixteca region. They are the fourth largest indigenous group in Mexico, although many have emigrated out of traditional Mixtec areas into other parts of the state, Mexico City and even the United States.
The work of Mixtec artisans was well-regarded throughout ancient Mesoamerica. Primarily producing work in stone, wood,and metal, they are well known for their "Codices," or phonetic pictures in which was written their history and genealogies. They were also known for their exceptional mastery of jewelry, particularly gold and turquoise. Mixtec goldsmiths played an important role in the tributes paid to the Aztecs during the height of the Aztec Empire. Figure 2 and Figure 1 are examplesof Mixtec-Puebla work.
Archeologists classify “Mixteca-Puebla” art as distinct from other Mixtec arts and crafts. This variant of artistic style and iconography, commonly found in pottery, became associated with traits of the Toltec archaeological tradition in Mesoamerican culture during the early post-classic period (800-1000). Using vast trading networks, the Mixteca-Puebla style of art spread from Cholula, a city located in the center west of Puebla, to other areas in the Valley of Mexico and eventually Mesoamerica (Figure 3).