The Beautiful Skeletons of La Tienda

Our Catrinas available in the La Tienda Webstore are original, handmade Mexican masterpieces. The skeletons are crafted with traditional techniques from fire-clay, and are brought to life (or not?) by colorful acrylic paint applied by artisans. The pieces that “strut their stuff” in our Webstore are 25, 30 or 38 cm tall, have a detachable skull – in case of the larger ones, the hands can be detached as well. They have exceptionally artistic and detailed features; each skeleton is a different character, as you can see at our Facebook profile. Individually or as a group, these can be perfect decorative features of an apartment, bringing unique Latin-American vibes to your home. They are funny, decorative and last but not least, quite valuable: they are priced between 45 and 68 € (plus delivery) in our Webstore.

The Elegant Skulls

The “La Calavera Catrina” (the elegant skull) was originally the title of a line-engraving work of art by a Mexican artist, José Guadalupe Posada dated 1913. The artist created a series of calaveras, which were humorous images of contemporary figures depicted as human skeletons or skulls. These were often accompanied by humorous poems, some of which had a critical touch concerning society. The depiction of skulls and skeletons in humorous forms has since been ingrained into Mexican culture. It is especially during the Día de los Muertos that one can observe all kinds of calavera works of art, from edible sugar skulls and altar decorations to puppets wearing elegant dresses. The latter are usually called Las Catrinas (the elegants), in reference to the above mentioned line-engraving. Also originating from Posada, the short poems or verses written for The Day of the Dead are also called calavera. These contain humorous but also critical messages from the after-life to the living.

The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)

The ”Día De los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead/All Souls’ Day) is one of the most important Latin-American holidays, particularly celebrated in Mexico with special customs and festivities. The celebration co-occurs with the Roman Catholic Church holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day (November 1st and 2nd). However, the Latin-American origins of this celebration reach back to ancient Indian times. In Aztec mythology, Mictecacihuatl is the keeper of the remains of the deceased (therefore, she is often referred to as the Lady of the Dead). The Indians celebrated her with an ancient festival for the dead that included festivities lasting several days. After the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, this “pagan” celebration was fused with the Christian All Souls’ Day, forming what is known today as Día de los Muertos in Mexico. Locals believe that Mictecacihuatl is still present at such events today. Their belief is expressed by the use of special symbols (mostly skeletons and skulls) and happy, humorous events of remembrance. As part of this celebration, people remember deceased family members and friends in the course of family gatherings. They usually construct small altars (which are often decorated with small, edible sugar skulls), prepare the favorite meals and drinks of the deceased, and taking these, the whole family visits the graves of the beloved in order to eat the prepared festive meals as if “together” with the deceased. The importance of the Día de los Muertos is indicated by the fact that relating to this festival, several forms of Mexican artifacts, gift objects and everyday objects were developed during the last centuries. Some of these are to be introduced later.