Livestock Market

We weren’t sure what we going to see at the livestock market, but evidently, it is the buying and selling of livestock – mainly cows and bulls, and some goats.  Gabriel parked and we got out and started walking to the area where the cows and bulls were tied to the fences.  As we were walking through, one cow was being led away and was protesting by twisting, turning, and kicking!  Shawn was busy taking photos and almost got kicked.  We then paid more attention as we walked between all the animals.

None of them seemed to be that well fed.

After walking through the middle of all the animals, we started to make our way back to the car. We went through a huge eating area where they were cooking all kinds of food.

Eating tents. You can see the large tortillas being cooked over the fires.
Close up of tortillas cooking. I had something similar in one of the restaurants and found it difficult to manage as it is so large.
Most of the bottles say mezcal on them, the ones on the first two shelves are some kind of liquor with a combination of unfermented syrup of roast agave and different fruit flavors such as pear, almond, apple, coffee, and pineapple.  The flavored honey is added to the mezcal and it ends up being 80-proof Crema de Mezcal.
We soon left the food area because it was so smoky and hot. Outside we noticed a few goats. This one was in a truck waiting to go.
Textiles – Santo Tomas Jalieza

This kind of weaving is called backstrap loom weaving and originated thousands of years ago in pre-Hispanic Mexico.
Everything you see is all handmade. Shawn bought a camera strap and I bought several small coin purses.
Black Pottery – San Bartolo Coyotepec
Black clay pottery is distinguished by its color, sheen, and unique designs. The process is lengthy and requires enormous skill on the part of the artisan. The shiny effect is achieved by polishing the pieces by hand with quartz crystals.
A few pieces that I bought

When we arrived, we went inside the building and immediately were taken to where we were given a demonstration and a lecture on the process and how the pottery is formed.

This was the artist who explained the process and made a ceramic bowl.

The craftsman is using the quartz crystals to put shine into the pottery.

After the demonstration, we went into the shop to look at all the pottery.  The prices were very reasonable and we had fun shopping.

Alebrijes – San Antonio Arrazola

Here is a brief history of the alebrijes in Oaxaca, Mexico:  Alebrijes are whimsical carvings depicting animals, people, objects, and imaginary creatures painted with intense colors and intricate designs. The first alebrijes are attributed to Pedro Linares, a renowned indigenous Mexican artist who made the figures out of paper mache.  He shared his designs with artisans in his village.  A man named Manuel Jimenez was the first to carve the figures out of copal wood. The alebrijes only began to appear in the 1940s and are not a part of the history of traditional Mexican folk art.  The craft has spread to other villages and other craftsmen and now is a fine art prized around the world.

Alebrijes Workshop

Gabriel took us to an alebrije workshop where we learned about the processes needed to make the figures. Each group of people had their special talents and as you become more adept you move up to creating your own designs.

Close-up of the unfinished pieces.
These workers fixed and resanded any cracks or other irregularities.
The lion is one of the pieces that took months to make.

These workers were painting and adding details to the figures.


We were taken into a showroom and the pieces were exquisite, but oh so expensive.  One can understand the high prices after you see how much work goes into each piece.  The manager was telling us that the figures also represent our protective spirits.  He had a chart that told what our spiritual creatures were according to our birthdates. Shawn’s protector was a coyote or an eagle and mine was a turtle or a snail. I think telling us that was to encourage us to buy our spirit animal. Unfortunately, it didn’t work! Shawn bought a mushroom and I bought a teeny cat.

Another busy and interesting day and we were ready to go back to Oaxaca City to relax, look at our photos, and decide where we would eat dinner.  Gabriel was a great guide and so very knowledgeable.  He was extremely friendly and made the whole excursion a pleasurable learning experience!

Check out the next post – Where we tour around the city by ourselves

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