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Craftsmen of Mexico

Identifier: Film Collection no. 158

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the AMNH Educational Expedition to Mexico, 1940. This film by Grace Fisher Ramsey, associate curator of the AMNH Department of Education, opens in color with images of Otomi women near Popocatapetl making twine from maguey fibers; they perform this task while walking along the road. A marketplace is seen with Indian craftsmen at work: plates are decorated with paints made from various earths; a man makes bracelets of braided reeds and silk. In the city of Tlaguepagua potters employ different methods of making pottery; both the wheel and mold techniques are used. In the next sequence, which is in black and white, a serape is woven on a household loom. Cotton and wool are spun into yarns on spinning wheels in a factory, where Oaxaca weavers operate the shuttles of their looms at great speed, their hands and feet in synchronized motion. In the mountain village of Taxco, craftsmen work with tin and silver; one man works on a silver teapot. In Puebla tiles and pottery are painted and fired. The remainder of the film is in color. Tonaltecan Indians mark designs on pottery with brushes made of dog hair. In the kiln yard red glaze is prepared, and finished pieces of pottery are glazed, fired, packed, and displayed. The final scene shows baskets, clothes, blankets, and cloth on display in a marketplace.


  • 1940

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (16 minutes) : silent, color ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (16 minutes)) : silent, color ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. print.


English subtitles.



Grace Ramsey, photographer; AMNH Dept. of Education, producer.

Craftsmen of Mexico, 1940
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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New York NY 10024 USA
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