Every year Mexico holds a prestigious nationwide ceramics competition. The tradition was started in 1977, and the contest has nine categories and a coveted President’s Award. If you are at all acquainted with Mexico’s fine folk art traditions, it should come as no surprise that the winning entries exhibit great innovation and a mind-blowing level of detail.
The Museo Pantaleon Panduro in Tlaquepaque houses over three decades of winning entries, and the collection is a true testament to Mexican ingenuity. Centered around a courtyard, vaulted hallways branch out into 27 galleries, where visitors can view everything from avant-garde crucifixes to the finest examples of traditional pots and dishes. Highlights include elaborate nativity scenes, skeleton figurines wearing hand-tailored clothing, delicate lattice work pots, a selection of miniature churches, and amazingly detailed candelabra, including one covered in ceramic figurines that depict scenes from Moby Dick, Romeo and Juliet, Le Miserable and other classics of literature.
The museum is named after Pantaleon Panduro, a 19th century artist who created playful clay busts and figurines that cemented Tlaquepaque’s reputation for true artistry.
Tlaquepaque is 5 km southeast of Guadalajara’s center. If you’re coming from downtown it’s a relatively inexpensive cab ride, or bus 275 runs south to Tlaquepaque from Av 16 de Septiembre and Madero. Admission is free.