Mata Ortiz is located the Mexican state of Chihuahua about 4.5 hours south and west of El Paso, Texas. It is a small town with adobe dwellings at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental, along the banks of the Palanganas River
Mata Ortiz pottery is a recreation of the pre Hispanic pottery found in and around the archeological site of Paquimé in the Mexican province of Chihuahua. It is named after the modern town of Mata Ortiz,
By the 1990s, the pottery was being shown in museums and other cultural institutions and sold in fine galleries. The success of the pottery, which is sold for its aesthetic rather than its utilitarian value, has brought the town of Mata Ortiz out of poverty, with most of its population earning income from the industry, directly or indirectly.
Paquimé pottery is closely related to the larger family of Pueblo pottery, showing influence from Arizona, New Mexico and central Mexico along with elements which are distinctive to the area. Various colors appear in the works including a nearly white ivory, a reddish color and black. Paquimé pottery was traded throughout North America.