Origin of Catrinas
Catrinas, the skeleton figures dressed to party or going about every day tasks, have become very popular. The art of Catrinas has a history of more than a century – some say the history starts with the Aztec’s Lady of the Dead, Mictecacihuatl, keeper of the bones in the underworld. Conceived of by Manuel Manilla in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, it was his contemporary, José Guadalupe Posada, who popularized the figures by creating cartoons that were published in newspapers, posters, and print. The Catrina is a tongue in cheek look at society, the fleeting nature of life, and the continuous nature of life after death, the neutralizing force that makes everyone equal in the end*, intertwined with commentary on the political climate of the era, both pre and during the Mexican revolution*. Mid-1900’s, Diego Rivera painted a large mural, “Sueño de Una Tarde Dominical en la Alameda Central”, mural that featured the Catrina and brought it alive in the culture.
Dia de los Muertos
Associated with Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican holiday honoring loved ones who have passed, the Catrina has become its icon. Day of the Dead, the religious holiday mirroring All Souls and All Saints days, is celebrated by visits to the graves of those who have passed, with a meal there or at home, with photos of the deceased, flowers, and their favorite foods. <more info>
What Is Talavera?
Talavera pottery, a form of majolica (or maiolica) pottery, traditionally uses a milky white background glaze with color images, painted with glaze in such a way as to make the images slightly raised. The name refers back to the the place where Majolica was originally made, the city of Talavera de la Reina in Spain.* Originally all cobalt blue patterns on white, Talavera has evolved to include other colors, most classically blue, yellow, black, green, orange, and mauve.* Serving platters, planters, dish ware, table & kitchen accessories, wall decor, vases…just a few of the many items available as Talavera pottery.
Unique Talavera Catrinas
These Talavera Catrinas and Catrines (the male version of the figure) were created by Gerardo Garcia. Ranging in size from several inches in height to nearly 6 feet tall, they add a colorful and thought inspiring accent to any room and are very popular with collectors. Elaborate paintings of skeletons decorate some of the dresses. Others display raised flowers. Gestures of dance, with widely held skirts, or laughing faces; all are very expressive.