San Bartolo Coyotepec is a town and municipality located in the center of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. It is in the Centro District of the Valles Centrales region about fifteen km south of the capital of Oaxaca.
The town is best known for its Barro negro pottery - black clay pottery. For hundreds of years pottery has been made here with a gray matte finish, but in the 1950s a technique was devised to give the pieces a shiny black finish without painting. This has made the pottery far more popular and collectable.
The town is home to the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular de Oaxaca (State Museum of Popular Art of Oaxaca) which was opened here in 2004, with a large portion of its collection consisting of barro negro pottery. There is also a barro negro mural on the recently opened Baseball Academy.
Barro negro pottery ("black clay") is a style of pottery from Oaxaca, Mexico, distinguished by its color, sheen and unique designs. Oaxaca is one of few Mexican states which is characterized by the continuance of its ancestral crafts, which are still used in everyday life. Barro negro is one of several pottery traditions in the state, which also include the glazed green pieces of Santa María Atzompa;however, barro negro is one of the best known and most identified with the state. It is also one of the most popular and appreciated styles of pottery in Mexico. The origins of this pottery style extends as far back as the Monte Albán period and for almost all of this pottery's history, had been available only in a grayish matte finish. In the 1950s, a potter named Doña Rosa devised a way to put a black metallic like sheen onto the pottery by polishing it before firing. This look has made the pottery far more popular. From the 1980s to the present, an artisan named Carlomagno Pedro Martínez has promoted items made this way with barro negro sculptures which have been exhibited in a number of countries.