18th December 2021

Embracing heritage in Costa Rica

On our recent travels to Costa Rica we enjoyed our time learning more about the indigenous Chorotega people; the native tribe of Costa Rica’s northwest Guanacaste region.

The Chorotega language, culture and community have been largely lost but some customs and traditions have survived, such as the rich legacy of traditional pottery making which has been passed down from generation to generation.

We found it fascinating that the Chortegas trek up into the volcanoes to gather materials for their work as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. The clay is made of volcanic river sand or ‘Iguana sand’ as it’s called by the locals and the colours are sourced from mineral stones called ‘Curioles’.

Curioles are broken down and pulverised to be then mixed with water. Oxidised iron becomes red, manganese creates black and white is the oxidisation of zinc all providing the beautiful colours of their artistic palette.

Scratched from the colour to reveal images which typically depict nature and the environment, patterns and designs are the same as they have been through the generations and over the centuries. 

In these times of technology it is wonderful to witness ancestral craftsmanship in its purest form.