You know how much I love sugar skulls, especially the ones we carry. But I also love the paper mache skulls. Just like the full body skeletons that are so prevalent around Mexico during late October in preparation for Dia de Los Muertos, skulls come in lots of unique shapes and sizes. Some with glitter, some without. The yellow skull was made by the Linares family, one of the most renowned paper mache artists in the world. The rustic flower covered skull is a lot more primitive but the glitter in the eyes and the child-like quality of the construction demonstrates that this one was made not by a trained artist, but by a folk artist expressing his/herself through paper and glitter. The second and bottom fellows are now sold but they are masterpieces of contemporary Mexican design and I wanted to show them to you.
These skulls might be used to decorate a home or in a more urban setting, on a ofrenda. Generally they are not available, either literally or financially to Mexicans living in very rural areas. They would more likely use a sugar skull or a photograph of the Virgin of Guadalupe on their ofrenda.
Some people think they are morbid or scary. I think they are a wonderful expression of the Mexican belief that the dead return in spirit every year and a reminder that death is out there for all of us. Yes, death is very sad and yes, death is a loss that is often hard to deal with. But it’s also true that death awaits all of us and Mexicans are more comfortable with that idea than many other cultures.
To see these skulls & lots of other folk art in person, visit our website.