The Walking Bony

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

In the display windows of the city, the huesudas quietly stare at the strollers—they may be picking their next victim. While I was walking one day, I felt observed, so I turned around and saw them: colorful, happy, and expensive. I did not wait for an invitation to their world; I invited them to walk through the streets of the city so they could observe the world that they left behind, to observe a world that sometimes is not visible for the living ones.

The Catrina was originally an engraving by José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), an artist from Aguascalientes. Before been called Catrina, the image of a skeleton wearing a showy hat was called “La Calavera Garbancera” and it was a representation of Mexicans with indigenous roots who were chickpeas sellers and pretended to have European roots, and although they were poor, they wanted to show a life style that they did not have. In the engraving the skeleton is nude because it is also a reference to the poverty that Mexicans were living in at that time.

Muralist Diego Rivera took the image of the Calavera Garbancera and in his mural entitled “Dream of a dominical afternoon in the Alameda,” he painted the calavera and dressed it up with showy dresses and called her for the first time, “Catrina.” The image mocked the high class during the Porfiriato era (1876-1911).

Special thanks to bazar Santiago Apóstol (calle Relox), Casa Benito (Relox corner with Mesones), Ono (Plaza Principal), Casa Michoacana on Mesones, and the Tienda of La Biblioteca for lending the statuettes.


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