A list of my favorite images of Mexican rag dolls - also known as Marias.
The best known Mexican rag dolls are those whose origins are most likely in the south of the central state of Queretaro, which have been called "Marias" but are more commonly called simply "rag dolls" (muñecas de trapo).
Mexico has a long history of making rag dolls but the ones known popularly from their appearance nationally - especially in tourist venues - may date back only to the 1970s, part of a project to enhance income opportunities for Otomi women in the Amealco municipality.
The dolls are strongly tied to Amealco, where seventy percent of the indigenous population or about 3,000 people are dedicated to the making of these and another type of rag doll, which accounts for at least part of their income.
Many are self taught or taught through friends or family.
Amealco has the first museum in Mexico dedicated solely to traditional handcrafted dolls, located in the town center in a building from the 19th century.
The town is also home to the annual Handcrafted Doll Festival (Festival de la Muñeca Artesanal) held in November. The town now holds an annual national contest for handcrafted dolls.
Although Amealco is strongly connected to these dolls, their making is not limited and has spread into various states, with some variations in dress and appearance, but always keeping with wide faces and hair generously braided with ribbons.
Rag dolls of various types have a long history in Mexico, especially since the colonial period. The making of dolls from old bits of clothing is still common among Mexico's indigenous populations, often using clothing that had been worn by some member of the family, and made by mother or grandmother.
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