Amate Bark Paper of the Otomi Indians
Bark paper, papal amate, is produced by hand in the state of Puebla by Otomi Indians using bark from the mulberry or fig trees. The mulberry tree creates off-white paper, while the fig tree creates much darker paper.
This bark paper is boiled and soaked overnight until soft enough for the fibers to pull apart. It is then pounded using a rectangular rock with finger grooves until the fibers of the pulp fuse together and are evenly spread out in the shape the paper-maker wants.
Let’s make an Example • Write your name on the paper. • Crumble the paper. Squish it without tearing. • Paint ink wash to resemble the bark texture when it dries.
How did the Otomi’s use their paper? In the beginning of time: - clothing -record keeping
Amate Cutouts The symmetrical cutouts are for magical purposes. - protect crops -scare away evil -guard homes -bring good health
Amate Cutouts The Otomi also used the cutouts as tokens of thanks to the Earth for a good crop.
Amate Characteristics What do we notice about the designs?
Amate Characteristics Amate Cutouts are: • Symmetrical • Stylized design • Human forms that represent the spirits • Nature forms that are important: plants, animals, birds
Paper was sacred to both the Mayans and the Aztecs. It was the medium on which their history and discoveries were chronicled.
The Otomi people sell their paper to neighboring communities.
The Nahua • The paper finds its way to the Nahua Indians of Southern Mexico who have excelled for several generations at painting bright village and wildlife scenes on the hand-made paper.
Much of the amate paper goes to villages in the state of Guerrero where artisans who once decorated pottery now paint imaginative scenes of everyday life, fanciful birds, animals and flowers on this special paper.
What do we see? - Subjects from nature birds, animals, plants - Ornamentation / Stylization • Pattern • Bright Colors