19 March 2008

Featured artisan: Professor Alfredo Gonzalez Castillo, Master Sculptor

Featured artisan: Professor Alfredo Gonzalez Castillo, Master Sculptor of Olmec, Toltec and Mayan statues and pottery.

Location: Coba Highway, KM 22, Puebla Francisco Uh May located on the right hand side of the highway driving from Tulum to Coba mid way through the Puebla.

Driving the Coba highway from Tulum heading to the ruins is an interesting day trip easily reached from the Akumal area. Along the road you will pass through several small pueblos where you will encounter the Maya and other local people selling their arts and crafts. Some of these small markets and local vendors do sell the mass produced tourists items you find in shop after shop. If you look a little harder and visit local homes and shops you might be surprised to find some very talented potters, wood carvers, leather workers and hammock weavers. Purchasing from locals directly helps stimulate the economy and does directly benefit the Maya, a very warm and welcoming people. You may find yourself in Grandma's kitchen enjoying warm, home made tortillas cooked over an open fire.

One of the most special artists on the Coba highway is Professor Alfredo Gonzalez Castillo, Master Sculptor who specializes in creating museum quality reproduction Mayan, Toltec and Olmec pottery. He was formally employed by the Department of Anthropology in Mexico City specializing in restoration and cleaning of ancient Mayan artifacts. His passions are exploration, geology and the mining jade and jadeite rocks that he polishes into brilliant stones that will be inland into one of his incredible pieces of art. He is revered by his neighbors who believe he is a very wise shaman/medicine man.

Alfredo is a kind and very interesting man. A true educator and treasure. He will be happy to give you the tour of his kiln and explain the history of his reproductions that you will see in the books in his library. He will also explain to you the migration of the peoples of the world on the ocean currents. You will notice some figures look Oriental while the early Olmec appear to be from Africa.

Professor Alfredo has also trained his son Glenn faithfully to carry on his work. He named his son Glenn after the astronaut John Glenn when he landed on the moon. Alfredo considered a man walking on the moon a powerful sign from the heavens.

Professor Alfredo’s pieces are worthy to be added to any Pre-Colombian collection. Alfredo can also be commissioned for larger art carvings.

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