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Click on each scene to enlarge.

The Story of Juan Quezada

Arbol de la Vida  created by Master Potter Tiburcio Soteno

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 Arbol de la Vida, Tree of Life

    For more than 100 years Metepec, in the State of Mexico, has been known for its unique ceramic creations, mainly the Arbol de la Vida, tree of life, a clay sculpture covered with flowers and leaves and biblical figures. Trees of life used to have as a central theme the Garden of Eden. Nowadays many other stories are recounted through this splendid clay sculptures….Mexico’s history, the Day of the Dead, The Nativity, Noah’s Ark, and some are even autobiographical, telling the potter’s or the customer’s own story

Generally the arboles should be "read"  from bottom to top. In this case, on the lower level of the tree we can see the Paquimé ruins, Juan Quezada as a young boy, and his adobe house.

The Artist Tiburcio Soteno

"An extremely talented artist with an unusual imagination, Tiburcio Soteno was invited to London in 1992 to give workshops at the Museum of Man (the ethnographic department of the British Museum).  This visit coincided with the exhibition The Skeleton at the Banquet: The Day of the Dead in Mexico. (1991-1995). A number of samples of his work were included in the exhibition and sparked much admiration.  Other pieces by him can be found in Italy, France, Germany, and Spain."

"At the turn of the 20th Century trees of life were small primitive pieces but through the work of Modesta Fernández , Tiburcio Soteno’s mother, the trees were revolutionized in to what the have become today – huge colorful sculptures that can tell any story."

Chlöe Sayer


The Story of this Arbol de la Vida

We visited Tiburcio , at his home in Metepec  and told him about Juan Quezada and his extraordinary achievements. We asked if he could create a Tree of Life about the story of this incredible artist,  that would also incorporate the essence of Mexican Folk Art. This is Tiburcio’s interpretation ofJuan Quezada's extraordinary story.


Click on the different scenes of the Arbol de la Vida to enlarge.