One of my favorite things to do wherever I am in Mexico is to visit the local market. In Mexico City, there are so many markets to choose from–all of them slightly different and all of them interesting. Yesterday I took the subway to La Merced, one of the largest mercados in the Federal District. It covers an entire block and then spills out into the streets. I took the photo below to show you how empty the subway station was on an early Saturday morning. The Metro is the best thing going in Mexico City. It costs 3 pesos to go anywhere and it’s clean, safe and speedy.
The Metro stops right inside the market so there’s no confusion about where to get off. Just climb up the stairs from the train and boom, you are inside the huge Mercado Merced. I like to wander a bit just looking at the fruits and vegetables, the zapatos, the plastic stuff, but my ultimate destination is always the paper products. There is such a huge variety in so many colors! Valentine’s Day is coming soon, so there’s an abundance of pink and red.
These decorations look like they are decorated with flowers but it’s paper!
In Mexico, December 12 is the Fiesta of la Virgen de Guadalupe. Pilgrims from all over Mexico walk, ride buses, drive, ride bikes and even walk on their knees to arrive at the Basilica of Guadalupe that was built on the hill where Juan Diego saw the Virgin three times in the 1500′s. The tilma that was seen by Juan Diego is preserved in the Basilica and many, many people make pilgrimages to see it and to pray for help of all kinds. But it’s not just in Mexico City that people remember and celebrate her today–it’s everywhere in the country.
Guadalupe is a world-famous icon of the Virgin Mary. She is fondly known as the “Queen of Mexico.” Her image can be found everywhere in Mexico. She’s recognizable by the golden rays that surround her image and by the little cherub at her feet.
Here’s a photo of the original Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Yes, it’s sinking! That’s partly why a new Basilica was built to the left of this photo. I like the old one better.
Light a candle and leave it outside one of several chapels on the Tepeyac Hill.
We carry 5″ tall Lux Candles. Take off the tissue paper and the lid, light it and wait for the image to be illuminated by the flame (it will take a while).
Folk artists use her image in every imaginable way and express their love and admiration for her through their media.
This is the Virgen de Guadalupe according to the Purepecha people of Michoacan. The whimsical Guadalupe wall plaque was made in Ocumicho.
Wooden bateas (carved trays) painted with the Virgin’s image come from Michoacan. These are decorative and are meant to be hung on the wall or set in a holder for display.
This is a reverse glass painting of la Virgen. The technique is an old-fashioned one but is being revived by a Mexico City artist, Manuel Bauman.
This is a large and lovely retablo with many saints on wood and painted in Michoacan. Available in the shop or by email!
This gorgeous tin cross decorated on the inside with Guadalupe and the symbolic roses comes from Oaxaca. Available in the shop or by email!
Nickel Silver earrings with the image of the Virgin available here.
And of course decorative boxes! These are especially lovely and very unique. They are from Mexico City. Available in the shop or by email.
Here are a few examples of Mexican folk art in the shop for the Navidad season. There are lots of unique pieces–teeny little glittered Virgin of Guadelupe ($12) the beautiful large, Oaxacan, painted wall ornaments ($45), unpainted tin lumenaria in two sizes ($15 and $20), lovely tin pop-up nativity scenes inside a narrow box ($36), tiny little nacimiento boxes from Puebla ($18) and an amazing clay advent wreath from Izucar de Matamoros ($145).
None of these things are on the website but any of them can be purchased. Just let me know if you would like something. We ship all over the world!
Click on the photo or here to read more!
Here’s an example of the darker tin that’s more common in Guanajuato and Jalisco. And this is a unique shape for a nicho box…they are usually rectangular but this artist used some creative freedom…
One of my favorite things to see along the street or in the markets is a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. These two shots were taken as I was walking along the street in Coyoacan.
Well, if you’re looking for some Mexican folk art for that special Valentine, take a look at these. These bottles are handmade in Oaxaca. The photos only show the Guadalupe bottles but we also have Frida, so don’t despair! Every one is different but every one is filled all the way around the bottle with sparkle, glitter, images of either Frida Kahlo or the Virgin de Guadalupe. They are fun to stare at. I have two on my desk and I love the color and the unique combination of dibs and dabs…
They are available right here.
Because over 90% of Mexico is Catholic, one finds lots of charming and beautiful hand-made religious folk art all over the country. The saints, above, are from Guatemala, another very Catholic country. Religion is a part of every day life in Mexico, from the home altar to crossing oneself in front of every church, to the pinning of milagros, to the omnipresent image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Catholicism is not native to Mexico–the Spanish brought it with them in the 1500′s. In indigenous towns and villages one still finds religious practices that harken back to the days before the conquest.
If you’d like more about each of the pieces, click on the photo!
“On December 12th, 1531, the Virgin of Guadalupe is said to have appeared to Juan Diego on Tepeyac Hill, bridging two worlds, that of the Aztec who saw her and that of the Spanish conquerors who now ruled his land. She has since become the patron and symbol of Mexico, a country born of this fusion of cultures…” to read more of the fascinating story of the icon of Guadalupe go here.
To celebrate, all Guadalupe folk art at the Zinnia Folk Arts shop at GUILD will be 10% off on Saturday, Dec 10!