Zapotec Calendar


Zapotec Calendar

Wood carved hand-painted sculptures from Oaxaca, México

The Zapotec Calendar is composed of 13 months, each of 20 days. Each day is ruled by an animal, generating a cycle that repeats month after month. Discover the magic behind each of these magical animals.

Produccion time: 8 months




In the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, the calendar is displayed with images of the 20 animals that constitute it. However, some elements of the piece are illegible because of deterioration. Thus the information is incomplete, almost as a kind of secret.

Many years ago, the mystery of the Zapotec Calendar awakened the minds of Jacobo and María, who became interested in mysticism as a way of understanding, organizing and living time. This is how the Zapotec Calendar collection was born, the result of vast research beginning in the late 1990s, and nurtured over the years. The artists provided body and form to the story through elaborate wood-carved figures. The craft is exercised today as an artistic and spiritual practice.

Iguana, coyote, turtle, chameleon, snake, armadillo, deer, rabbit, frog, dog, monkey, owl, possum, jaguar, eagle, cenzontle, butterfly, snail, fish, and hummingbird: 20 animals that are interpreted from different cosmovisions, families and ethnic groups. These animals inhabit the different regions of the State of Oaxaca. Every community has a different relationship with each one of them, generating a multiplicity of connotations. And at the same time, coinciding in core points that denote the true nature of each animal.
At their workshop, Jacobo y María Ángeles present this series of pieces with pride and knowledge.

The project ranges from miniature silver jewelry, the now classic wood carving, to the conception of monumental exercises. In appreciation for its 28 years, the workshop is pleased to present the origin of the Ángeles’ artistic understanding, which also inspires the conception of Tonas and Nahuales.
The history of Jacobo y María Ángeles Workshop with the Zapotec Calendar emerges from the particularities of memory, myth, and legend, as well as from the universal values of the culture. An allegory to the construction of belonging and identity. Being and knowing to be Zapotec.


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