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.