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5 Fascinating Facts About Mexican Rag Dolls

One of the most recognizable Mexican culture symbols is actually quite endearing. We are talking about Mexican rag dolls, a pretty affordable toy that, however, requires detailed handwork and lots of patience to make them. Let’s take a look at these interesting and fascinating facts to understand everything about Mexican rag dolls.

The History of Mexican Rag Dolls: They were born in places like Michoacán, Guanajuato and Estado de México

Although the origins of the Mexican rag doll date from ancient history, back in the time after the Spanish Conquest, it was actually the Mazahua ethnic group to be the first to produce them as an alternative to the much more expensive European porcelain dolls. This is how the “Maria” Mexican rag doll was born.

Afterwards, other versions were produced in states like Guanajuato, where the “Lupita” doll is from. 

There are some interesting variations of the original “Maria” or “Lupita” doll

Recently, some other types of Mexican folklore dolls have come along to conquer both the national and international markets. The most successful of all is the Frida Kahlo doll, produced in places such as Querétaro, México. These dolls usually wear typical Mexican clothing in vibrant colors, such as blue, green or pink. Also, the smiling faces are crowned by Kahlo’s distinctive joint eyebrows. 

Now let’s see how Mexican dolls are made.

An authentic Mexican rag doll is always handmade

Most people prefer a handmade doll, as it is a lot closer to the toy’s original spirit. They are usually made by female crafters, experts in different embroidery and sewing techniques. 

For regular handmade dolls they may use a pattern and some cardboard and small silicone pieces that will be glued to it. Then the fabric will be added later and some crafters may even draw a smile and some facial characteristics by using a permanent marker.

However, the most common method to produce handmade rag dolls consists of sewing stuffed pieces of fabric together to shape the distinctive Mexican indigenous woman with black hair and a pleasant face. Each part will be made of padded fabric and the final result will be a fluffy, appealing toy for most kids and Mexican souvenirs lovers.

Mexican rag dolls may be factory-made nowadays 

Modern technology makes the process of producing rag dolls much easier. Even some artisans have bought machinery to produce these toys based on selected patterns. Although some may argue this type of method is far away from traditional Mexican artwork, the resulting dolls are still valuable pieces of popular culture sold everywhere.

There is even a “doll museum” devoted to these lovely toys!

Located in Amealco, Querétaro, there is a museum called “Museum of the Artisan Doll” within the famous “Ricardo Pozas Arciniega” museum. There are around 500 rag dolls exhibited from all over Mexico and even some other countries, just to show the audience how relevant ethnic artwork can get. 

There you can spend some time enjoying the work of crafters who have poured all their love and passion into these magnificent handmade Mexican dolls made out of fabric, cardboard and with lots of accessories made from clay and wicker, among some other materials.

Mexican folklore dolls are an undeniable part of the country’s national identity. They represent the colorful innocence of a large group of ethnic people and even though most children prefer modern technology and electronics over simple, basic things, there will always be a place on any shelf for one of these cute pieces of art.


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