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Mere Practicalities

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This Economist piece on the lead content of Mexican pottery talks about, in a matter-of-fact way, the complicated present of craft today—particularly in countries with a strong handcraft tradition like Mexico.

In the sentence “Their products were banned from the American market, where their hand-painted beauty could fetch much higher prices than in rural Mexico, where the pots were merely a practicality”, the author exposes the changing and uneven relations between decoration and function, tradition and industrialization, manufacture and use, in Mexico and the US. From mere practicalities in Mexico to  sought-after items of decoration here, these both lead-rich and lead-free objects are also vessels of symbolic meaning and material value.


Written by Frederico Duarte

March 6, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Posted in craft