Mexican Day of the Dead antique prints

 Images  Telegraph Multimedia Archive 01481 Calaveras-20 1481189I
The British Museum is hosting two exhibitions of Mexican artwork and culture - "Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler" and "Revolution on paper: Mexican prints 1910-1960" - and displaying Day of the Dead papier mâché figures and an altar, created by Mexican artist Adriana Amaya and children. Tied to these major exhibits and Dia de los Muertos, Redstone Press has issued a neat box set of oversized postcards, titled Calaveras: Mexican Prints for the Day of the Dead.
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The set contains 22 postcards by Mexican printmakers Manuel Manilla (1830-1895) and J. G. Posada (1852-1913). The Redstone Press site posted a sample of these great prints, as did the Daily Telegraph. (Thanks, Mike Love!)

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  1. I love Mexican Calaveras art… there was an awesome exhibit of these very papier mâché figures at the UCLA Fowler Museum back in 1995. Damn, I’m old. Viva Dia de los Muertos!

  2. This will be my second purchase of an item featured on BoingBoing in the last week or so! The new BoingBoing appears to have found my weakness. Much more of this and I’m going to have to stop coming here….

  3. En esta tumba descansan
    el Cory, la Xeni y los otros,
    la Catrina los abraza amorosa
    fueron todos muy buenos mozos.

    Approximate translation

    On this tomb rest
    Cory, Xeni and the others
    Catrina embraces them lovingly
    they were all so handsome.

    (it sounds better in Spanish :-) )

    the above is a quick attempt to write a “Calavera” (skull literally) which are little poems celebrating or deriding, as appropriate, public figures. They are sold around the Day of the Dead celebrations in newsstands or by enterprising printers all around Mexico City, the cheap booklets have these little poems and prints inspired by Posada or ripped of from him (copyright, thankfully, be damned).

    The first picture, the Catrina, Posada’s major creation, is a Mexican national icon, look for images and you will find soon enough plenty of pictures of her, the most famous one in a mural painting by Maestro Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo’s most stable partner (and much better painter technically).

    Posada was a ferocious social critic, who derided people right up and centre for all their human faults and hypocrisies.

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