National Geographic : 1967 Mar
When the first Spaniards arrived, Tonala was the seat of an Indian principality ruled by a widowed queen whose court, the chroniclers noted, had many fine artisans who "worked in silver and some gold and cloth." In modern Tonala we saw how the craft tradition still lives. The marketplace is piled high with terra-cotta ceramics (page 434). And in patio-factories, artisans still fashion fanci ful clay animals and blow glass. "Each village around Guadalajara has its own craft specialty," explained an American art dealer, Richard Pointer. "Jocotepec is famous for weaving white serapes. In Teocal tiche, men carve chess sets from bone. Tlaque paque has a different pottery style from Tonala's. These Indian cultures endure." In proof, Mr. Pointer showed us a scarlet 420 figurine-a bearded, horned animal carrying pans and household pottery on its back. "That's a nahual," said Pointer, "an ancient Indian bogeyman who steals things that peo ple don't put away properly. Would you like to meet the artisan who made it?" And so we met Candido Medrano, a potter so small that Kelly looked down on his head. Rebellion Brings Religious Feast "When did you first hear of a nahual?" Mr. Pointer asked the little artisan. "My parents told me of them long before I saw one," Candido replied, his bright black eyes quite serious. And had he seen a nahual lately? "Oh, no, not lately, but then I do not leave my things lying about." I thought of our hotel room and the tidiness of 12-year-old travelers. As a reminder, we took a nahual with us.