Brazilian handicraft


The first craftspeople were the native tribesmen and women, who used natural dyes in their weaving and ceramics, as well as musical instruments and domestic and hunting utensils

Craftwork, ever since its beginnings, has been a creative way of producing useful objects. Over time, it has made daily life easier, whilst remaining a form of artistic expression. 

These days, Brazilian handicraft is richly varied and, with its folkloric origins, it is famous across the globe. A popular activity throughout the entire nation, many families make their living in the craftwork industry, and the activity makes a positive contribution to sustainability, through the reuse of materials, such as ceramics, leather, animal fibres, dyes, wood, clay, stone, cassava root flour and corn, among many other products.

Objects produced range from bijou to bedspreads, bags to wooden sculptures, lace to ceramics, and paintings to domestic utensils. It is an art with great cultural value, which goes hand in hand with tourism. Each individual object tells its own tale, and expresses the feelings, traditions, beliefs and lifestyles of each and every corner of Brazil. Here are the highlights of Brazil’s five regions’ arts and crafts traditions:

Typical Brazilian crafts made from golden grass from Jalapão


The marajoara and tapajônica styles – genuinely indigenous, with their forms and techniques stretching back thousands of years – feature jewellery made from precious metals, wood and seeds. The Amazon’s influence means that ceramics are one of the region’s most popular products.

Colorful clay dolls, typical of the Northeast of Brazil, are souvenirs for sale to tourists at the Mercado do Nordeste do Brasil


A heritage of Portuguese colonizers, cotton fibre production techniques are still in use today, along with straw braiding, and weaved baskets made from carnauba palm, bamboo and cipo palm. In addition to earthenware produce and woodwork, the Northeast is also noteworthy for its famous bobbin lace, made by women from all over the region, especially in the state of Ceará.






In the Central-West region, the focus is on embroidery and activities related to woodwork, earthenware, tapestry and products made from fruits and seeds. In Mato Grosso, porcelain animals are very common. In Goiás, the decorations made by tribespeople from the Carajás, Caiapós and Xavantes villages are a highlight.


One of the region’s most famous handicraft features are the so-called ‘namoradeiras’ – sculptures of country women watching the world go by from their windows. Minas Gerais stands out for its rugs and quilts made using handlooms, tin products and precious stones carved from a diverse range of minerals. In São Paulo, pans, pots and earthenware jugs are commonplace.


Traditional baskets made by the Kaingang indigenous people for sale at Largo da Alfândega, in the center of Florianópolis

In the inland regions of Santa Catarina, many products are made from banana leaf. On the coast, around Florianópolis, one finds Azorean lace and ceramics. In Paraná, there is a lot of craftwork made from wood. In Rio Grande do Sul, porongos are commonly produced, to be used for cuias de chimarrão (traditional cups which are used to serve the tea commonly drunk throughout the region), as well as colourful blankets and ponchos.



For more information about Brazil, travelling to Brazil, Holidays in Brazil and Brazilian tourism, please also visit VBRATA Visit Brazil Travel Association, a London-based travel organisation specialised in Brazil.

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