Grinding Sugar Cane


Series Title
Mexican People
Artist
Alberto Beltrán (Mexican, 1923 – 2002)
Date
1946
Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
Sheet : 14 x 17 1/2 in. (35.56 x 44.45 cm)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number
2016.1.1.5

Label
Sugar cane was brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 16th century and soon became one of the country’s most important commercial crops. Commercial sugar cane was grown on large estates and processed mechanically to produce refined sugar for sale both in Mexico and in overseas markets. Because the refined sugar was relatively expensive, some peasant farmers also grew small quantities of sugar cane for their own use. This print depicts peasants grinding sugar cane in an old-fashioned wooden milling machine called a trapiche. A few stalks of sugar cane were fed into the trapiche and crushed to release their liquid. That liquid was then boiled in a shallow pan until it crystallized and formed a coarse brown sugar that could be used by the farmers for cooking.

Object Type
Print