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Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Here we have Frida the Eternal, creating her mortal self. A thought provoking image...the Huichol people believe that as they create their artworks they are creating the world that is represented in the image...or should that be 're-presented'?
Aqui tenemos La Frida Eterna, creando si misma mortal. Un pensamiento curioso...la gente Huichol creen que mientras estan creando sus obras de artes, estan creando el mundo que esta representado en el imagen...ó deber ser 're-presentado'?

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Just got back from our Summer buying trip with a special prize...the newest addition to our selection of "Played" Tastoan masks. It's from the festival this past July. I've attached a link to our more extensive article on the Tastoanes in the PV Mirror of July this year.


We also have 2 previous "Tastoan" posts on this blog that you may not have seen....¡Pásele...take a loook!

Monday, August 5, 2013

~Jaguar Mask with Milagros~~Mascara Jaguar con Milagros~

"Grrrrr....get in here & find out what you're missing!"says the Jaguar. Hand-carved from avocado wood, covered with magical milagros (miracles), a perfect guardian for your folk art collection.

Monday, March 4, 2013

So What’s With The Skeletons!?!
   We hear this question all the time. In the rest of North America, bones conjure up fear, are used to scare children, and no good christian-minded soul wants to be reminded of death. Then, here they come to Mexico and find skeleton figures in all the art and artesania shops. There’s even a children’s cartoon named Huesita, or Little Bone. Why?  The answer is complicated, as different cultures tend to be, and Mexico’s culture is complicated indeed. The indigenous people of Mexico were conquered by the Spanish some 500 years ago, but they were not killed off or driven onto reservations. For the most part they were put to work. Over the centuries, the cultures of conqueror and conquered have melded in fascinating ways.   One of these ways is the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos, a two day festival honoring our ancestors. Every year our departed come to visit, to feast and party with the living. The next day all go to the cemetary, where the party continues into the night. Then the living go home, and the dead await the next year. Though the Catholic church was able to move the date of this celebration to coincide with All Saints Day and All Souls Day, this is where Christian influence mostly stops.   It’s good to keep in mind that most of the cultures of Meso America were interrelated, the same ball courts can be found in ruins near Phoenix as are found on the Yucatan peninsula. They also shared their religions. An integral part of that religion was the depiction of many gods as skeletons. Skeletons were considered good luck and were a symbol of fertility, the dicotomy of life. The god Quetzalcoatl was said to have stolen bones from the the god of the underworld to create the different races of mankind. It was believed that the god Mictlantecuhtli and his wife presided over the world of the dead. They are always portrayed as skeletons. This helps to explain the use of skeletons in the Dia de los Muertos celebration, and why we see them so often in ordinary life. In Mexico, bones are simply not something to be afraid of.

Tom Swanson & Marianne Menditto can be reached at