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Archive for May, 2011

Popularized by Manuel Jiménez in the Oaxaca Valley, which is located in southern Mexico, artists skillfully carve and paint native animals of Mexico. In this region, the artform has become a major production and desired form of sculpture.

According to the Hearst Museun of Art, many of the carvers are descendants of the Zapotec Indians, which are natives to the Oaxacan area. The soft wood of the copal tree is used to carve these amazing creatures and are carved, sanded and then painted by hand using bright colors. Men often carve the figures, when they are not farming, in order to earn extra money to support their families. Sometimes an entire family may help create these fantastic and amusing figures.

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Set of wake (velorio) figures. Made by Timoteo Aguilar; Ocotlán de Morelos,Oaxaca. This set of 19 hand-painted ceramic figures depicts a wake scene, which is an important ritual of traditional Mexican culture. These figures were made for sale to tourists, and became popular in the 1950s. This style was created by Doña Isaura Alcántara Díaz. She taught the style to her five daughters, along with their husbands and three brothers.

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This Mexican print represents a soldier fighting for the rights of peasants during the revolution of 1910. Image courtesy of Dover Publications, Inc.

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Practiced in Mexico for well over a century, the art of dressing fleas in tiny costumes has now almost entirely disappeared. This image shows a pair of fleas dressed in tiny male and female costumes; other examples are grouped into scenes like weddings. This form of Mexican artwork is a traditional artform that is entirely unique to Mexico. If you have any additional information regarding dressing fleas please leave a comment, I would love to hear your incite.

(Dressed fleas. Guanajuato). Learn more about Mexican folk art.

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“Mexico City has a very definite sense of aesthetic. What trends in Mexico City is a little more avant-garde. . . . Consequently, Guadalajara has always had a much more colorful pictorial narrative tradition of art, and because of the climate of Guadalajara and because of its proximity to Puerto Vallarta, a lot of people have gravitated to Guadalajara to work and live.”

Learn more about this exhibit displaying beautiful works of up-and-coming contemporary artists from Mexico.

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Franciscan missionaries arrived in Mexico with Cortés in 1519. After the Spanish Conquest, the Franciscans set up schools to instruct the children on indigenous art in efforts to sway them from Aztec idolatry and toward Christian rites. One of the native arts that most impressed the Fransiscans was “feather mosaic” (arte plumario in Spanish) practiced by gifted Aztec nobles. Utilizing Hummingbird feathers, images were created by laying down these infinitesimally small feathers to produce a spectacular effect. Only a very few examples of the earliest Christian feather mosaics survive, as the medium is so inherently fragile; only a fraction retain a semblance of their original radiant colors.

The Franciscans also taught the indigenous people of Mexico the art of carving nearly microscopic scenes on rosary beads. Typically, scenes from these Mexican carvings depicted the Passion of Jesus Christ and were set in gold and enamel mounts.

Source: Arts of the Mission Schools in Mexico | Thematic Essay | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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