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Hamsa, Khamsa Hands

The Radiance of Tin Art

Tinwork is one of Mexico's most colorful crafts. Rooted in Spanish colonial times, the art of tin making has changed very little since. Tin was originally manufactured by dipping thin sheets of iron into molten tin to coat them with a bright, durable surfactethat was resistant to rusting. These figures are entirely handmade (cutout, punched, embossed and soldered) by craftsmen using great precision and artistic flair. Painted with durable lacquer and enamel colors, tin figures are inexpensive, lightweight and long lasting.

In this section of our Mexican tin art collection, we bring you Hamsa Hands, also known as Hand of Fatima or Khamsa hands. They are ancient Middle Eastern talismans or charms that symbolize the Hand of God. It is a protective sign, bringing the owner good luck, good health and good fortune. Our tin hamsa hands are all handcrafted by tinsmiths in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Please take the time to browse our other tin products, including animal figures, birds, Day of Dead, Christmas ornaments and tin stars, nicho frames and fridge magnets. Use the drop-down menu above, under TIN ART.

The age of tinwork in Mexico goes back at least to the 1700s. Tin was originally manufactured by dipping thin sheets of iron into molten tin to coat them with a bright surface that was durable and highly resistant to rusting. (However, if the surface is scratched, revealing the iron underneath, it will begin to rust if exposed to rain or high humidity.) For an artisan, the appeal of working with tin is its lightness, strength and low cost. It is easily bent, cut and soldered to form intricate shapes.

In eras gone by, Mexicans decorated their homes with tin photo frames, candelabras, lanterns, tin and glass frames (nichos) holding pictures of saints. In humble churches, tin crowns were set on the heads of statues, lit tin lanterns were carried during processions, tin candlesticks adorn the altars.

Tinwork is often referred as the poor man's silver. In Mexico, every religious and festive object handcrafted in silver has a counterpart in humbler forms made from tinplate. Yet the same degree of skill and passion the silversmiths put into their work could be found in the less opulent pieces made by tinsmiths. Their pieces, too had an alluring shine, that charming brilliance.

These days, tinsmiths in Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende are carrying on the traditions, making Christmas decorations, tin soldiers, heart-shaped wall plaques and a variety of clever toys. Most of their work is for export to the southern United States, where tinwork is one of the most visible manifestations of Mexican Culture. Most popular with American collectors are the cheerful, flat ornaments, of which we have many here at Viva Oaxaca Folk Art. Take a look and enjoy.


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Hamsa Hand Tin Plaque w/heart-shaped mirror
Mexican tin hamsa hand plaque, handmade in Oaxaca
SIZE: 5 inches tall. With loop for hanging on a wall.
SKU: TN-1_013
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Hamsa Hand Tin Plaque w/round mirror
Mexican tin khamsa charm, handmade in Oaxaca
SIZE: 5 inches tall. Hangs on a wall.
SKU: TN-1_012
Hamsa Hand Tin Plaque with red heart
Open-handed tin Hamsa plaque, handmade in Oaxaca. Painted front side only.
SIZE: 6 inches tall.
SKU: TN-1_026
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Hamsa Hand Tin Plaque, with Heart and Cross
Hamsa hand by E. Carlos Valdez in Oaxaca
SIZE: Hand measures 5 3/4 inches tall.
SKU: TN-1_028
Hamsa Hand with Cross, tin plaque
Tin wall plaque wth mirror, handmade in Oaxaca.
Measures 5.5 inches tall
SKU: TN-1_025
Hamsa Hand with Heart, tin plaque by Aquino
Tin hamsa hand made in Oaxaca by Aquino Family
Measures 7 1/2 inches tall by 6 1/2" wide.
SKU: TN-1_076
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Hamsa Hand, 5-inch, FA
Tin hamsa hand plaque by Aquino Family tinsmiths
Hamsa hand measures 5 inches tall.
SKU: TN-1_077
Hamsa, Hand (squared), w/heart-shaped mirror
Hamsa charm plaque in shape of open palm, handmade in Oaxaca
SIZE: 4.5 inches tall. With loop for hanging on a wall.
SKU: TN-1_011
Hamsa, Mano De Fatima Plaque, with heart
Mexican open-handed Hamsa tin plaque, handmade in Oaxaca by Conrado Villegas Alcázar
SIZE: 5 inches tall by 4 inches wide
SKU: TN-1_017
Hamsa, Mano de Fatima, with birds, by Conrado
Mexican punched tin Hamsa wall plaque, handcrafted by Conrado Villegas.
SIZE: 5 1/4 inches tall
SKU: TN-1_010
Hand with Hearts, tin plaque, 6-inch, by Conrado
Hamsa Hand with Hearts, by Conrado Villegas Alcázar
SIZE: 6 inches tall
SKU: TN-2_069
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Khamsa Hand with Hearts, tin plaque, by Conrado
Mexican tin hand with hearts plaque by Conrado Villegas Alcazar
Hand measures 9 1/2 inches tall
SKU: TN-2_100
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