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Wood

Mexican Folk Art

The Village People

We were fortunate to recently acquire a whole collection of vintage Mexican paper mache sculptures. Standing approximately 12" tall, these delicate old hand-crafted Mexican folk art sculptures are “The Village People,” undoubtedly so named because they are a series of elderly Mexican villagers going about their everyday lives as they’ve done for decades. Hand crafted of wire and paper mache, and hand painted in muted shades, each figure stands on a 3-3/4" square wood base, is authentically dressed, and shows remarkable expression on its face. How anyone can achieve that much expression on a paper mache face is a mystery to me! Add that to the body language, and you have amazing character studies, not mere figurines. In fact, these villagers are so unique, individualistic, and realistic that it didn’t seem right to call them “its” and Ol’ Swaphos insisted we give each figure a name! That may have been a mistake, because once we personalized them, I felt compelled to tell their stories, and based on their expressions and the various things they’re carrying, it wasn’t hard to imagine a story associated with each one. So meet our villagers who will tug at your heartstrings with their simple agrarian lifestyle and world-weary countenances, but a fierce determination to keep on keepin’ on! They need a well-deserved retirement as prized and appreciated sculptures to display with pride!

Juan y la lena

“Juan and the firewood.” This is Juan carrying a load of firewood home in both
arms. Firewood is always needed for the huge kitchen hearth where his wife cooks food for the family. His furrowed brow and sad eyes reflect the difficulty of his labor and the heaviness of his burden. His well-worn clothing is slightly tattered, with a small rip at the knee of his left pants leg. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Roberto y la lena

“Roberto and the firewood.” Juan’s friend Roberto has been out gathering firewood for his family, too, and he also carries his load in both arms. His face is a study in resoluteness and determination as he struggles onward to his small adobe house where the firewood is needed for warmth on cold winter nights. His left pants leg is torn in two places. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Maria y la azada

“Maria and the hoe.” Maria has been working in the garden today and carries her short hoe. She seems too old to be doing such heavy work, but her weathered face shows that she’s spent a lifetime growing food for her family to eat. Today was no exception, since gardening is never really finished. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Eduardo y el rastrillo

“Edurado and the rake.” Maria’s husband Eduardo has been working with her in the garden today and carries his 5-pronged rake. The ground is quite rocky and the rake became bent, with one of its prongs curving upward. Today was a windy day and Eduardo’s hat blew off more than once (it has become disattached from his head), winding up with a rip at its brim from getting caught in a bush. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Carlos y el cerdo

“Carlos and the pig.” Here is Carlos leading his pig on a long rope that’s coiled in his left hand. Right now the pig is sitting down, but Carlos leans back and grasps the rope in both hands, as if waiting for him to take off running again. He’s evidently quite a strong pig and has become disattached from the wood base. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Rosa y las verduras

“Rosa and the vegetables.” Rosa carries a large slatted box of vegetables that she’s dug from her garden. Her long patchwork skirt is tattered from kneeling among the plants, and has a tear on the front at her right knee. She watches carefully to make sure none of the precious vegetables spill out as she carefully walks to the house with her skirt hem dragging in the dust. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Luis y la maiz

“Luis and the corn.” Rosa’s husband Luis has been working in the cornfield while Rosa works in the garden. He carries a large box of corn for the family’s dinner, but he’s so tired from his labors that the heavy box is slipping from his hands and has tilted into a very precarious position, threatening to spill its contents on the ground, which would be a disaster after all his hard work. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Jose y la olla naranja

“Jose and the orange pot.” Jose is a very old man who walks with the aid of a long staff in his left hand, with his right arm and hand wrapped around the neck of a large orange pot. His long belted tunic isn’t quite long enough to hide his tattered old billowing pants that show a rip at his left knee and a hole at his left calf, the result of a near fall earlier in the day. Can his wife patch them one more time? (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Graciela en la cocina

“Graciela in the kitchen.” Graciela is preparing the evening meal for her family. As she moves from cupboard to fireplace to table, she carries a big jug in one hand and a big bowl in the other. Her face reflects the countless number of days she has performed this ritual, and she’s not looking at the things she carries. Instead, her eyes are uplifted as though looking to the mountains and remembering a time long ago when she and Julio, her husband, were carefree young sweethearts. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

Julio y la olla roja grande

“Julio and the large red pot.” In the meantime, Julio needs both hands to carry a large heavy red pot into the kitchen. It’s filled with rain water for the family to drink since the small adobe house has no running water. His facial expression seems to indicate satisfaction that there will be sufficient water for the entire family, but he watches carefully to make sure none of it spills. There have been no clouds in the sky for several days, and the precious water must last until the next rain. (Click on picture for more images.) Tell a friend.

Price: $30.00 + s/h and insurance

 

   only 1 available

 

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swaphos@santafetradingpost.com

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