Chorotega Indigenous Pottery

Chorotega Pottery  is very  important part of our culture in Guanacaste for  being an ancient tradition that was learned from our ancestors The Chorotegas Indigenous.

The  salient potteries are produced by Guaitil residents of Santa Cruz and San Vicente of Nicoya (towns with over 5,000 years of tradition in pottery) . They work the clay using traditional techniques and indigenous ancestral Chorotegas, that once inhabited this part of the country.

They found pottery dating  more than 2,500 years which means pottery activity has a pre-Hispanic origin.

The history data shows the production of ceramics in the early XX century, an activity where men participate only in obtaining raw materials and preparation thereof. Women developed the activity and shared their knowledge from generation to generation within the family.

Materials and preparation:

In the area of ​​San Vicente and Guatil, the materials are brought from mountains , which are usually extracted from the mud of a local hill that once cast mix it with sand “iguana”-black color (located near the iguana nests).

From the same place or in mountain, artisans bring the ground  stones;  black, red and white  and then mixed with water and clay to make the pigments what they called Curiol used to decorate the pieces . There are several colors and is said that if you come to the hill making noise, the red color get hidden from you!

After this, the parts are molded by hand, they paint with lines, points, geometrical shapes, animals, etc.. Subsequently they place in a traditional oven, where they are burned and cleaned, and  finally be polish.

Ancestral Use:

Agricultural societies indigenous been elaborated the pottery for utilitarian purposes such as cooking and food storage as well pieces more complex with polychrome zoomorphic forms, for ritual purposes and usually placed them on the graves.

All cooking containers were made in ceramic . The water had kept fresh in this pieces.

Pottery pieces:

Nimbuera: A word  “composed” by other two words.  “Nimbu”: water and “¿Era?” or “Uhpu”: Container. Means ,Container to keep fresh water.


Patrimonio. Go.Cr.

Photos taken in Artesanias Guaytil. Comunidad de Carrillo, Guanacaste. 50 metrer west from Total Gas Station  .

2 thoughts on “Chorotega Indigenous Pottery

  1. Can you give me any information about Celia Salazar? I found a beautiful pot by her in a store in Santa Fe, NM. I would like to see more of her work.


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