Jan 21, 2008

Ex-Voto Folk Art Mexico

Which vices do you wish you were able to give up? The man to the right suffered terribly. His vice gave him horrible visions of the devil.

The photograph is of an ex-voto, or retablo as they are often referred to, a form of Mexican folk art which give thanks to saints or in this case the Virgin of Guadalupe for answering prayers. A rough translation follows below:

“I give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe who has performed this miracle for me of helping stop this cursed vice that has given me such horrible visions and the devil came and took me. But fortunately this has made me stop taking it. This is a testament of my gratitude to the virgin.”

This is one of several retablos from Mexico I brought back from my recent trip to Guatemala. I’ll post on the others as well. I discovered them in a large artist cooperative selling a wide variety of textiles and folk art. It dates from 1953.

For more on retablos check out this post Parish of the Immaculate Conception in the remote former mining and ghost town of Real de Catorce, Mexico.


Roy Biggins said...

This is awesome. I am trying to imagine how my own vices would look in retablo form. I like to think that it would also include alcohol, a virgin, and a touch of the devil, but my life isn't that interesting.

Wendy said...


I am sure your life is far more interesting than you care to admit :^)

Pickled Eel said...

Humans are endlessly fascinating and every time you turn around there is another cultural nuance you have never imagined could exist turning up like this. But I wonder what he had been drinking?!

Wendy said...

Hi Pickled Eel,
Good question. Whatever it is I don't want any!

Roy Biggins said...

Looks like jugo del diablo (devil juice) to me.

Looking more closely at the image, it seems like the worst thing the devil did to this poor fellow was spill his drink right into his lap!

Wendy said...

maybe the devil had also been drinking and lost control of his motor skills.

Anonymous said...

Every person has a devil and an angel in him. It depends on whom he takes advice from. Folk Art depicts the tradition and culture of a particular place. Sometimes they tell you stories that are very interesting.

Romy said...

Hola! I love the tradition & culture of Old Mexico! The Mexican Ex-voto Retablos are such a wonderful collectible form of art that is still being carried on today! Muchos Gracias for your great stories, photos, and enthusiasm! RoMy