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Taller Leñateros is the only publishing house in Mexico run by Mayan artists. Founded in 1975 by poet Ambar Past, the Workshop is located in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas. Among its multiple objectives are the documentation, praise and dissemination of Amerindian cultural values: song, literature, plastic arts and the Mesoamerican tradition of painted books. The Leñateros have produced the first books to be written, illustrated and bound (in paper of their own making) by Mayan people in over 400 years. The Workshop foments artistic creation among the most marginalized communities and benefits the ecology by recycling agricultural and industrial wastes in order to create crafts and objects of art. The Moon and the daughters of the Lightning send dreams to the Leñateros to light their way; from the heart of these visions come magical books.

Through this Woodlanders’ Gazette we hope to keep you up to date on the exciting new work at Taller Leñateros.

Contact us:
We are preparing a new website
or you can visit our catalogue on line


"The Dancing Jaguar"

The new offset-silkscreen edition of the book Bolom Chon is now available, and includes a ferocious pop-up centerfold Jaguar with a maguey fiber tongue and whiskers, a bright yellow, Jaguar spotted silk screened corrugated board carrying case. $65. each, in English or Spanish.



Bolom Chon ta Vinajel.
Dancing Tiger in the Sky

Bolom Chon tan Banamil
Dancing Tiger on the Earth

“The Bolom Chon is a velvet ant” said a little boy named Lol. Petul responded that it’s a jaguar like those that still live in the Lacandon jungle, and its spotted skin looks like a starry night. For Loxa the Bolom Chon is a Tiger Snake; Xpetra thinks the Bolom Chon represents all the Animal Kingdom: tigers, deer, coyotes and possums. A man who plays the harp told us the Bolom Chon is a Dancing Tiger. But grandmother Maria Tzu insists that the Bolom Chon doesn’t mean anything at all, it is just the name of a song the Fathermothers made up when the world was created so people could have fun at the Fiesta, stomping their feet on the surface of the Earth. After listening to our friends and having heard the song over and over again we concluded that the Bolom Chon is a magical being that lives in the imagination of people in all the corners of the Universe. Wherever there are tracks, spots, paws, and tails there is the Bolom Chon.
Bolom Chon is the title of an ancient song of the Tzotzil Maya who live in the Highlands of Chiapas in Southern Mexico, but… what is the Bolom Chon? We asked this question of a number of Mayan friends and got a lot of different answers.
-Texts from the book Bolom Chon-




Bolom Chon has seventy pages of surprising graphics inspired in ancient myth, Mexican carnival masks and original block prints created by contemporary Mayan artists. The hands and warm hearts of artisans have brought this story to life.

A mythical Bolom Chon danced across the handmade paper cover: his foot prints

remain as a testimony of the eternal presence of the jaguar in Mayan culture. The endpapers of the book are made from agave fiber and decorated like the tiger costumes of Tzotzil ritual dancers.

Inside the book we discover jaguars among the stars, masks that roar, tissue paper butterflies, yellow woolly sheep and all

kinds of images that evoke the colors, the form, and the legend of our magical protagonist. Mayan music transports the reader to the Highlands of Chiapas

where the Bolom Chon dances in the Fiesta; perhaps you will find that the beating of your heart matches the step of the children who dance on the face of the Earth to the sound of harps, flutes and drums.






“ P a p e l i t o__H a b l a ”

A flexigon adorned with wood block prints by Zapotec artist Delfino Marcial Cerqueda, and sprinkled with ecological phrases in Spanish. Fold and unfold this puzzle to discover its mysteries. $6 US dollars.


“ P o p - u p__P y r a m i d__C a r d ”


A 3-D image of the Kukulcan Pyramid at Chichen Itza (one of the 7 wonders of the world) silk-screened on handmade paper. Comes with a unique envelope. $6 US dollars


“Pocket Books of Mayan Spells”


A series of three tiny (2 ½ x 4 inches) books (Hex to Kill the Unfaithful Man, Mayan Love Charms, and Magic for a Long Life) profusely illustrated by contemporary Mayan painters and tucked into a case that folds out to reveal a portable Mayan altar, including magical candles.

Limited first edition; 99 copies in Tzotzil-English; 50 Tzotzil-Spanish, signed and numbered. All three pocket books in carrying case-fold-out-altar: $150 US dollars.







“The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists Books” National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D. C. Two books from Taller Leñateros (Incantations by Mayan Women and Mayan Hearts) are included in the catalogue among «the 100 most beautiful books of the world».

“Artists’ Books from Taller Lenateros, Chiapas, Mexico! Sherman Art Library, Carpenter Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. June 4 – September 24 2007

«Sacred Texts, Contemporary Forms» Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Three books from Taller Leñateros, Incantations, Words of Chan K’in, and La Jícara #6, Milwaukee, Minnesota.
«The Art of the Book», Donna Seager Gallery, San Rafael, California.




  2006 y 2007

«Fiestas de Chiapas» exhibition and catalogue of artist books from Taller Leñateros, Gallery "Exhibition Space", Tokyo, Japan.

More good news:

Oxford Anthology of Latin American Poetry has included 3 texts from Incantations by Mayan Women, in its 2007 edition. And the 100th issue (summer 2007) of “Bomb Magazine” features texts and spirit paintings from Incantations by Mayan Women. Also, this fall, “Art on Paper” will run an article on Taller Leñateros with many photos of the Workshop and new products.







The work at Taller Leñateros is made possible thanks to donations from private individuals who support our projects through the non-profit Libros Prehispanicos A.C.

This organization was formed one year ago to support the 1500 year old Mayan book arts tradition through workshops directed towards the Mayan community, scholarships for students, courses, exhibitions, conferences, videos and publications that promote education in the book arts among contemporary Mayan artists.


During the month of July 2007, Libros Prehispanicos A.C. is offering a workshop on woodblock carving and printing in Taller Leñateros taught by Daniel Godínez of the UNAM National Art School in Mexico City. The works produced in this course will be featured in the 2008 calendar to be printed by the Leñateros, as is our tradition every year.

Graphic works by Daniel Godínez will be on exhibition in Taller Leñateros this summer.

The Iberoamerican University has also given its support to the Leñateros for over a year now, by sending us students of graphic design, international trade, communications and digital design who spend several months as interns in the Workshop, participating in an interchange of ancient_ and modern_ techniques_ for

designing and printing books. All of the students have contributed to the on going work of the Leñateros in an important way, and two students are writing their thesis on Taller Leñateros. This Gazette was prepared by interns from the states of Puebla and Guanajuato.



  Ámbar Past, Adriana Rincón,
Sara Miranda



María Tzu, Xalik Guzmán,
Loxa Jiménez, Sara Miranda,
Mari Carmen Díaz Díaz,
Delfino Marcial Cerqueda,
Munda Tostón,
T ila Rodríguez Past

FOTOGRAFÍAS:   Adriana Rincón Gallardo