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Gallery La 303 Jewelry Exhibit Explains Oaxaca’s Contribution to Mesoamerican Art


By Alberto Rojas Calvo

The state of Oaxaca is the birthplace of two of the most important civilizations in Mesoamerica—the Zapotecas (Binni Záa) and the Mixtecas (Ñuu Savi). Both inhabited at different times the ceremonial center that today we know as Monte Albán, located in the Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán Municipality, south of the city of Oaxaca. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The jewelry exhibit, The Gold of Monte Alban, which opens February 2 at Gallery La 303 in Fábrica la Aurora, will display reproductions of the ancient jewelry styles created by these civilizations, featuring techniques rediscovered less than 100 years ago.

In Monte Albán, both cultures left behind their art, an example of which is one of the most important discoveries in Latin America, the treasure of the archaeological site known as Tomb #7. It contains beautiful works of ceramics, bone, lapidary, and metallurgy. The gold and silver jewelry there excel in their design techniques.

Several studies have confirmed that there was pre-Columbian jewelry being produced along a route spanning from Chile to México and passing through Perú and Colombia, each with their own techniques and styles. Oaxaca’s great mastery was of the lost wax, falsa filigree, and martillado (repousse) techniques. These can be seen in jewels like the Prendedor of Yanhuitlán de Chimalli and the commemorative breastplate pertaining to the Treasure of the Tomb #7.

Archaeologist Alfonso Caro’s discovery of the magnificent treasures inside Tomb #7 in 1932 led to the formation of a new style of Oaxacan jewelry based on reproductions and the diffusion of knowledge of ancient techniques rediscovered in the tomb. Among the most outstanding members of that generation of master goldsmiths were José and Carlos Ortiz, Francisco and Alfonso Vargas, Saúl Pazos, Fausto Vargas Ramírez, and Jorge Montealegre, who in turn trained disciples who to this day retain design and production techniques of these ancient Oaxacan styles.

On February 2, Gallery “La 303” in Fábrica La Aurora will exhibit this genre of jewelry, including authorized replicas of pieces found in Tomb #7. This exhibit will also feature a lecture illuminating more about Oaxaca’s cultural legacy.


Art Exhibition

The Gold of Monte Alban

Sat Feb 2, 6pm

Gallery “La 303”

Fábrica La Aurora

Info: 951 145 7991



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