jacobo and maria angeles

Postcard from Merida, Mexico: Colonial casa filled with mythical creatures

Above collaboration: Photograph by Fernando Armenghol enhanced with oil and gouache by Jacobo and Maria Angeles of San Martin Ticaljete, Oaxaca

The façade of Casa de Montejo on Merida’s Plaza Grande is striking with its sculpted conquistadors armed with halberd axes dwarfing figures below representing those they conquered. The mansion dates from 1540 and was built on land Spain awarded to Francisco de Montejo (1479-1553) for his role in subjugating the Yucatan. The prominent residence was remodeled multiple times through the centuries and was purchased and restored by Citibanamex in 1981. The main portion of the casa is a cultural museum, with the bank tucking its operations tastefully off the back patio.

The sculpture on the outside pales in comparison to the exhibition currently found within the house museum – Detras de Una Mascara/Behind a Mask. The galleries are filled with mythical carved copal figures decorated in Zapotec patterns, alebrijes by Jacobo and Maria Angeles of San Martin Ticaljete in Oaxaca.

One of the stories about the birth of the alebrijes says that Pedro Linares, an artisan from Mexico City, had a hallucination resulting from a serious illness, in which he dreamed that he was coming to the world of the dead, where he saw animals of many colors, some with dragon wings, legs of chickens, bodies of snakes, faces of cats… that flew around him shouting ‘Alebrijes!…’

website of Jacobo y Maria Angeles

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