The Splendor of Nicaraguan Art
Much of the art in Nicaragua is to be found in the form of traditional handicrafts. While the country has had a strong leaning to poetry over the years, it has little developed the fine arts and graphics side of human expression, choosing instead to continue to create decorative pieces with a practical value. Today, many of these attractive handicrafts can be found in the form of leather work, ceramics and woven garments.
Many native artisans tend to work in clusters where their wares can receive a wide audience and they have a better chance of selling. Perhaps one of the most famous artisan markets in Nicaragua is the Masaya Market. This city has been populated for more than 3000 years and is itself quite interesting to see. The chief craft in Masaya is premium quality hammocks, though there are many other hand-crafted goods available for sale here.
San Juan de Oriente, which is not very far from Masaya, is a great place to go for ceramics. Many of the local crafters work with kick-wheels to spin their clay, making their skills unique and their ceramics all the more special. When visiting their workshops you will get the opportunity to meet local crafters and learn more about the individuals who created these functional works of art. More craft markets and workshops can be found at Catarina, Masatepe, Condega and Mozonte.
Also worth visiting are Somoto and Jinotega whose artisans specialize in more unusual ceramics. The people of Somoto create the unique white clay ceramics of the region while those in Jinotega focus on black ceramics. Both types are renowned throughout Nicaragua and can make for a great buy.
For something a bit different, visit Mina La India. Here local artisans mine gold from the surrounding hillsides using age-old techniques. These artisans then mold the gold into delightful works of art – many of which are sold to the public.
Also of interest, though not as extensive in Nicaragua, is the art gallery district in Managua. Here you will see current trends in art – many of which relate to political tendencies - and get a taste for the small part of Nicaraguan life that becomes immortalized on canvas.
While Nicaragua is not generally known for its crafts and art, you can be certain that you will find a wealth of such goods. Many of its goods are exported to other Central American countries because the standards of such goods are excellent. So whether you are looking for a dress, hammock, some leather goods or some ceramics, make sure that you check out the markets and crafters guilds of Nicaragua. You can be sure that you will find some real treasures made with love and passion.