Tzinacan is the Nahuatl word for bat. These small creatures have been part of the mythology in pre-Hispanic culture of Mexico as one of the most notable deities. Judging by the many representations on ceramics, urns, paintings, telae and ancient codices, there were evidently of great importance. The image of the bat symbolized very different aspects according to each culture, as for the Aztecs it was associated to darkness, earth and death, although in the codices it is represent the cult of corn of abundance and fertility.

When the Spanish arrived in Mesoamerica during the consolidation of the Conquest, new customs were imposed and, along the bat's image was no longer venerated nor respected. Instead, it acquired a reputation for sinister and disgust. This tremendous change was greatly influenced by the myth of vampires, describing beings coming out of their graves at night and fed on living being's blood. In the folklore of medieval Europe, the bat was related to nocturnal actions of evil, and brought with it many superstitions. When the first Spanish conquerors arrived in 1527 on the coasts of Yucatan and the attacks of vampire bats on men and horses became evident, the myth of the vampire would find its real counterpart, increasing fear and suspicion towards these friendly animals.

Handmade in Oaxaca, a state rich in pre-hispanic pottery tradition, the Barro Negro (black clay) style has a tactile finish with a subtle shine. The workshop takes the natural clay and cleans it by filtering it for 20 days. The clay is then smoked to create the black colour and burnished rather than glazed, by polishing the surface with a quartz crystal until it has a glossy finish with a warm glow. The pieces are then fired in underground pits or kilns, using a wood fire.

Material: Oaxacan clay 

Dimension: ø12.5 x H7 cm