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La Carrete De La Muetre (Cart of the Dead) Mexico/New Mexico

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  • Judy Decker
    Dear Friends in Art Education, For those of you doing Days of the Dead.... I was leafing through my American Art History book - just for the heck of it (huge
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2003
      Dear Friends in Art Education,

      For those of you doing Days of the Dead.... I was leafing through my
      American Art History book - just for the heck of it (huge book with no color
      pictures) and came across an image that intrigued me. It was a Carretas de
      la Muerte from 1850 (Cart of Death - probably made by someone in the Lopez
      family - New Mexico). I couldn't find anyting about that image online -- but
      did find that the Lopez family is still carrying on this tradition. Since it
      interested me - I thought I would share with you. My students would have
      thought these were neat - maybe your will, too.

      La Carreta De La Muerte (The Cart of Death)
      Frm Cruz: The death cart is a very old part of my cultural history. There is
      an old tradition in New Mexico and the Southwest, including Mexico, in which
      the personification of death is depicted as a 'calavera,' a skeleton with
      long gray hair, often referred to as 'Dona Sebastiana.' She is the
      embodiment of death and usually carries some form of deadly weapon, such as
      a scythe, bow and arrow, axe, sword, whip, etc. She is a reminder that death
      comes to all of us, in one form or another.

      Wood scultures by Cruz Lopez - New Mexico
      Wonderful work (pastel with pine frame)- My Father the Saint Maker:
      (not a site to take you students to - but you might want to look at his

      Horacio Valdez - this image looks closer to the image from 1850.
      Members of the Penitente sect of northern New Mexico drag death carts
      through the streets during Holy Week to remind the faithful of their
      mortality. Valdez followed a two-hundred-year-old tradition when he carved
      this figure of death riding in a cart, ready to claim new victims with his
      bow and arrow.
      Wonderful Exhibit! - Treasures to go - Contemporary Folk Art:

      Contemporary Dona Sebastiana Death Cart:
      (this site has some interesting images - but the pop--up ads are annoying)
      More of Jerry Vigil's carvings:
      Some Days of the Dead Art:
      Days of the Dead art - is Sculpty clay on wood.
      Nice alter/shrines (see gallery 3)

      Here is help for anyone wanting to work interdisciplinary with American
      literature (tie in with social studies too):

      Now what got me interested in this? I bought a book today on American art:
      The Essential History of American Art -- goes from 1765 to 1982 (mainly
      white Americans)....but is lacking in African American Art and Native
      American Art. Book was only $4.99 so that was fine with me. It is full of
      quality color images. My thick American Art History book only goes up to

      Waldon's Books has some great buys on art books if you have one in your
      area. Ours just got a bunch of new ones in.

      Judy Decker - Ohio
      Incredible Art Department
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