When walking into Los Ceibos Arte Maya, in the town of Muna, it is hard not to be taken by the sheer beauty of Patricia Martín’s work on display.
The showroom’s visitors are likely to be immediately drawn to reproductions of famous pieces like that of a ceramic Prehispanic warrior with a detachable helmet or stone Maya stelae from the Usumacinta region. Patricia’s inventory is extensive, packing the studio.
Patricia herself is just as impressive. She began creating reproductions of Mesoamerican art in 1985. After several years as an apprentice, she took ownership of the workshop after its founder moved to Quintana Roo.
Patricia works with her sons Adrián Magaña, who is an archaeologist, and Julián Magaña, who studied gastronomy, as well as her husband, Martín Magaña, who specializes in molding clay vessels. At the workshop, the Magaña-Martín family creates spectacular works of art using a variety of naturally sourced materials, just like their ancient counterparts once did. They use clays from Chiapas, Tabasco, and Yucatán, as well as natural pigments (including the famous Maya Blue), depending on the type and style of the piece they intend to reproduce.
“We love and respect the work of our ancestors, but we also like to introduce and fuse certain artistic motifs when appropriate. It’s not just about reproducing the past but getting to experience the process of creation in a way that connects us with and honors our past,” says Patricia.
Because this is Yucatán, after all, artisanal creations recreating the region’s past are in abundance here. Still, figures from other Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Olmec and Mixteca, are also on display and available for commission.
The workshop creations have attracted the attention of collectors and museums around the world, including the United States, France, and Spain. The family also offers workshops to folks interested in learning their techniques, as well as lectures and presentations in Mexico and abroad.
The crafts for sale at the workshop vary in size, complexity, and cost, making it possible for anyone who visits to come away with a handmade piece that fits their budget.
Because the reproductions are so convincing, Patricia dates and signs the bottom of her creations with her name in glyph form. Given the rising popularity of legally and morally dubious auctions of Mesoamerican artifacts around the world, the work of the Magaña-Martín family offers a much more ethical way to adorn your home with “ancient” treasure.
Visit Los Ceibos Arte Maya in Muna on Calle 13 between 28 and 26. Instagram: @patriciamartinmorales