Saturday, August 31, 2013
Chiapas Part 11: San Cristóbal's vivid street markets
The mercado at Templo Santo Domingo
woven and embroidered huipils (blouses) and skirts. The woman is wearing a tzute (shawl) around her shoulders. The design of their clothing indicates that they may be from the nearby village of Zinacantan. You can get a sense of their small stature by comparing it with the European tourist approaching from the opposite direction.
small masks. The owner of the booth was also the craftsman. Use of masks for festivals and religious activities goes far back into pre-hispanic history and indigenous communities all over Mexico continue these traditions. Carole and I collect masks and I made note of the booth's location the first time I visited the mercado. Shortly before our stay in San Cristóbal ended, I returned and selected a mask in the form of a deer's head with delicately carved antlers. It is now displayed on our living room wall in Ajijic.
click here. On the map, the Mercado Municipal is shown as Mercado Viejo.
Chichen Itza in Yucatan and Tenochtitlán in Central Mexico set aside special areas for public markets. Early European visitors described scenes in those ancient markets that were very similar to what you see above.
"This town has many squares on which there are always markets, and in which they buy and sell. But there is another, twice the size of the town of Salamanca, completely surrounded by arcades where every day there are more than sixty thousand souls who buy and sell, and where there are all kinds of merchandize from all the provinces, whether it is in provisions or jewels of gold and silver."
Rambutan grow on an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. They have become very popular in Mexico and can be found in markets throughout the country. Although it looks spiky, the hairs are soft and the red covering is easily peeled, revealing a soft, sweet, white fruit inside. The presence of rambutan fruit in the remote mountains of Chiapas attests to the long reach of globalization.
"When we reached the great square called Tateluco, as we had never seen anything like it, we stood amazed at the infinity of people and goods, and by the method and regularity of everything."
Twenty-five percent of the world's farmed shrimp come from Latin America and Mexico is one of the major producers.
imports from China, another indication of globalization. China is becoming one of Mexico's most important trading partners.
Maya medicine, the use of natural herbs is based on thousands of years of close observation of the effects of various plants on the body. While at San Cristóbal, Carole and I visited the Maya Medicine Museum, which will be the subject of a future posting.
Turkeys were first domesticated by the Maya of northern Guatemala during the late pre-classic era (300 BC - 100 AD). They were one of the few domesticated animals of the pre-hispanic New World.
This completes Part 11 of my Chiapas series. I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the local mercados. I always appreciate feedback, corrections and questions. If you would like to do so, please leave your message in the Comments section below or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim