Spirit and Craft in Oaxaca: Clay Figurines of the Aguilar Family

About the Institute and Exhibit Program

Founded in 1924, the Middle American Research Institute (M.A.R.I.) at Tulane University strives to promote greater understanding of the vibrant and diverse cultures of Mesoamerica, the area encompassing much of Mexico and Central America.

The Institute stewards an extensive collection of textiles, artifacts, and ethnographic materials and an archive of letters, field notes, maps, and photographs gathered during field projects and given by generous donors. M.A.R.I. endeavors to make these collections visible and accessible to researchers, students, and the general public through exhibitions, workshops, symposia, and scholarly publications.

M.A.R.I. interns have the opportunity to work with and research the Institute’s archival and artifact collections. The culmination of their hard work is an online exhibit available through Tulane’s library website. These exhibits cover a wide range of topics showcasing the people and material culture of Mesoamerica.

Spirit and Craft in Oaxaca: Clay Figurines of the Aguilar Family

This exhibit presents modern clay figurines made by the world-renowned Aguilar family from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The figurines in this exhibit originate from the rural town of Ocotlán de Morelos, the home of the Aguilar family. This collection was donated to M.A.R.I. by Frank de Caro and Rosan Jordan of New Orleans, Louisiana in the fall of 2016. Pictures of the figurines are used to describe life in Oaxaca and illustrate the Aguilar family’s craft techniques and artistic influences.

Creation Date: Spring 2021

Acknowledgements: The exhibit was designed by Education and Outreach Intern John Sandefur and supervised by Jocelyne Ponce, M.A.R.I. Collections Manager.

Further Readings

Mindling, Eric
2010 Barro y Fuego el Arte de la Alfarería en Oaxaca. Editorial Arte Oaxaca, Mexico.

Wasserspring, Lois, and Vicki Ragan
2000 Oaxacan Ceramics Traditional Folk Art by Oaxacan Women. Chronicle Books, San Francisco.

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