Antique Asian Works of Art from Ancient East

Painted Wood Panel with Mexican Day of the Dead Scenes

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Americas: Latin American: Pre 1970: Item # 1365460

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Ancient East
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369 Montezuma Ave., #562
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2626

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DESCRIPTION: Mexican folk art painting on old wooden shutter depicting Day of the Dead figures on raised panels wearing various costumes, bordered with large flowers. Not signed, some wear, good condition. DIMENSIONS: 30” high x 11” wide.

CULTURAL BACKGROUND: Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican ancestry. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased with offerings of their favorite foods, and visiting and maintaining graves.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years to Aztec festivals. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. Gradually, it was associated with October 31 and November 1 to coincide with the Western Christian traditions of All Saints' Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls' Day. In the early 21st century the Mexican government made Día de Muertos a national holiday as a unifying national tradition based on indigenous traditions in Mexico.