Oaxaca's Tourist Guide
Oaxaca's Tourist Guide


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Exterior view of the musem
Sculptured stones
Frisell Musem (Mitla)

Frisell Museum (Mitla)

This building is an excellent example of popular architecture. It used to be an Inn called "La Sorpresa" [The Surprise], which welcomed all travellers during the second half of the nineteenth century. It is said that, in 1950, the house owners, Dario Quero and his sister, sold it to Ervin Roberto Frissell from the United States. He bought it, collected a great number of archaeological pieces, and proceeded to open this interesting museum. Posteriorly, his collection grew because of Howard Leigh, a connoisseur of Zapotec art, who moved his collection to Mitla, which he had began in Taxco. Later, Frissell sold the property to the University of the Americas, and at Leigh’s death, the same institution became guardian of his collection.

The Museum contains several rooms, which, through exhibitions of Pre-Hispanic pieces, offer a general view of Zapotec and Mixteca art evolution. The objects are varied and most of them originally from the Valley region in Oaxaca. The ceramic category includes funeral urns, receptacles, braziers, burners, and pottery mortars, among other objects. In addition, there are Tecali (Mexican onyx) objects, idols, and stone axes, necklaces, and jade bracelet.

• San Pablo Villa de Mitla: Is located 27 miles (44 kilometres) East of the City of Oaxaca via highway 190 to the Isthmus. Turn left at the kilometre 39 detour to Mitla. Approximate travel time: [0:50]
The Frissell Museum is located on the corner of Benito Juárez Street with Morelos Avenue, practically in front of the Central Plaza.