Pale Horse Galleries

Art of the Indians, or Indigenous peoples, of Mexico -- the Zapotec, Mixtec, Olmec, Maya, Aztec (Mexicas), Yaqui and Apache. One might refer to some of the pieces pictured here as "crafts". One would be wrong. The work that you will see represents these peoples' view of their world and everything in it. The making and selling of this art is these peoples' only means of supporting their families. It is all that they know how to do. As you will see, they do it very well.

Oaxaca Pale Horse Galleries art crafts gifts and collectibles from Mexican indigenous artists and artisans alebrijes wood carvings ceramics textiles

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico: A short sword, "Machete Americano", hand forged and hand tempered by Angel Aguilar

Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, Mexican arts and crafts. The Machete Americano, a short sword, much like a cutlass, which doubled as a machete heavy enough to be used to hack through the mangrove common along America's southern coasts. Hand forged and hand tempered by Angel Aguilar, Ocotlan, Oaxaca, Mexico.
The "Machete Americano" short sword

The machetes used by the Spanish in New Spain (the Americas, according to the Spanish) were OK for the brushy or jungled interiors of the countries they explored/conquered. However, once the Spaniards reached the coasts of the Americas, they ran into mangrove.

Mangrove is more a tree than a bush or brush. And in the northern fringes of their empire, in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, the mangrove are the toughest of all. So the Spanish needed a machete with more beef. At the same time, they developed a machete that could be used as a weapon if need be.

The "Machete Americano" was the result. This short sword, because that's what it really is, rather than the classic machete, is 24" in overall length and has a blade length of 18". It more closely resembles the cutlass used by sailors and marines of the 16th century world and made famous by the buccaneers and pirates.

This would have been the tool used by Jean Lafitte and his crews as they cleared Barataria in the bayou outside New Orleans. Any other machete or knife would have been too light.

The Machete Americano is hand forged and hand tempered in the forge of Angel Aguilar, master swordmaker of Ocotlan. This blade would probably quite quickly hack and chop through just about anything short of a full sized, mature oak tree. It would make an astonishingly effective gift for the woodsman on your list, as well as be a collectible that would last several lifetimes.

You can purchase this classic 16th century tool, still in use today, from Angel Aguilar at the Pale Horse Galleries online store. Just click on the link, or copy and paste into your browser.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

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The Pale Horse


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