Cuban Leaf Art

A National Cigar History Museum Exclusive

© Tony Hyman

Uploaded June 12, 2011

Last modified September 5, 2013

        Two+ decades ago I was offered the opportunity to buy these wonderful works of Cuban folk art, created by meticulously picking away tobacco between the fine veins of a tobacco leaf.

        The Cuban refugee from whom I got them didn’t know who made these...

a single artist? A cooperative of artists? Members of a particular occupation?  Cigar rollers on down time? How old they were was a mystery to him and me alike.

        Nor did he know what tools they used.  A pin? A knife? Something special?

        I, of course, wanted the complete backstory. Who made the first one?  Did the artists sell them? Where? For how much?  Are they still made?  Nada.

        I can make some reasonable “guesstimates” but it’s better for everyone if “real facts” got woven in here somewhere. If you know the answer to ANY of the above mysteries, please drop me a line <>

        How I got them in the mail decades ago is how they are today. They arrived as part of a lot of 19th and early 20th century Cuban goods, for which I’d paid a hefty sum to a Cuban refugee. These leaves were in old brown paper envelopes in various stages of disintegration (the envelopes, not the leaves). Leaves are in surprisingly good condition and will stay that way if they get reasonable care.

    They are as you see in the Exhibit. I’m a shaky old man and didn’t want to risk damaging them by handling more than necessity.  As a result, photos were taken as each particular leaf is stored: with brown paper above and below the leaf, or with brown paper below the leaf, or with the leaf out of the paper.

I love these folk art masterpieces but don’t have display space...

  You can have all 8.  $195.
       (less than I paid 20 years ago) 

To own this “Museum Treasure” or
to make a donation to improvement & expansion 
of this unique Historical Museum.