Thursday, January 28, 2010

día de pesca de la trucha de los muertos

A couple years ago the kids and I got my wife some Day of the Dead (“calaveras”) figures for her birthday, both of which land on the calendar at about the same time. We got them from a place that imports them from Peru, but my wife being herself, figured she could do a better job at them. She started making them for every occasion...

From what I can put together, here is what's going on with these "Day of the Dead" figures:

Day of Dead art, specifically the use of “calaveras” as a way of burlesquing persons and institutions (which were traditionally protected by censorship laws), is a tradition with roots both in Europe, and in the Indian traditions of Mexico.

Indian roots are made up mostly of the dual nature deities, whose “death side” was indicated by skeletal figures - the most famous survivor of that tradition is “La Santisima Muerte”.

European roots go back to the danse macabre, and to the work of Hans Holbein the Younger, and his figure of "Death", who wears many disguises, confronting individuals from all walks of life.

The great Mexican illustrator Guadalupe Posada is said to have carried on Holbein’s traditions, and brought them back to life.

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