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Muñeca de Cartón , Paper Mache Doll Mexico Daisy 17" x 6" x 4"

17" x 6" x 4"

    Muñecas de Cartón


    Every spring around the time of Holy Week in Irapuato, Guanajuato, México where I live, there appear in the local market some peculiar dolls made of papier mâché. They are commonly called “muñecas de carton” in Mexican Spanish. The word “muñeca” (moon-YEA-kah) can mean either “doll” or it can mean “wrist”, as in the wrist that connects your hand with your arm, depending upon the context in which the word “muñeca” is used. The word “cartón” (kar-TOHN), however, can be misleading because the word “cartón” is generally associated with the English word “cardboard”. The phrase “muñeca de carton” is actually a short form of the phrase “muñeca de cartón de piedra” or “doll made of rock paper”. The phrase “papier mâché” is of French origin meaning “chewed” or “masticated” paper but it translates into Spanish as “cartón de piedra”. I have also heard these dolls referred to at various times as “muñecas de Salamanca”, “muñecas de carnival”, “Las Lupitas”, “muñecas de cabaret”.

    The hard papier-mâché has its origins in the late colonial to early Independence period, created by poorer families to imitate more expensive porcelain dolls from Spain. In Mexico City, the name Lupita is derived from the diminutive for the popular girls name of Guadalupe. In the past they were sold in Mexico City in places such as the Sonora Market, where other items made of cartonería such as piñatas and Judas figures are still sold. The dolls remained popular until the era of commercial plastic dolls. A number of stories surround the dolls. One of these is that a wife who feels that her husband is cheating on her would buy one of these dolls and write the name of his supposed mistress to let him know that she knew. Another story says that they were used in the past to advertise brothels in Mexico City with each doll representing a prostitute. The dolls in the windows indicated which women were available

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