dusk near Cuernavaca

dusk near Cuernavaca

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Museum of Popular Arts

On Saturday, after we had visited the San Juan Market, we walked several blocks to the Museum of Popular Arts.  I had been there a couple years ago, but Alejandro had never seen it.

Mexico City boasts a vast number of museums.  Some are huge and spectacular, others are small and of limited interest.  I think the Museum of Popular Arts is perfect, and I would highly recommend it to any visitor to Mexico City.  The museum is small enough that in can be thoroughly seen in a couple of hours or less... but its superb collection showcases the wide variety and brilliance of Mexico's handicrafts and popular arts.

The museum is housed in an art deco building that was originally built as the city's police headquarters.

There are displays of Mexico's beautiful pottery, ceramics and laquer ware...

 and textiles and traditional native apparel.

Masks, worn in traditional dances and celebrations, have been a part of the country's folklore since pre-Hispanic times.

Alejandro strikes a fierce pose in front of the paper mache Judas figures that are traditionally burned the day before Easter.

There is a large collection of "catrines", the skeleton images that are so popular around the "Day of the Dead".

In this delightful bullfight scene, everyone... the audience, the matador, and even the bull... are skeletons.

There is a beautiful collection of the elaborate clay figures known as "Trees of Life".

The museum also has a number of "alebrijes", the whimsical animal figures which I wrote about when I was in Oaxaca.  

This exquisitely painted "alebrije" of a serpent was created in the workshop of Jacobo and María Angeles, the workshop that Jane and I visited when we were in Oaxaca.

On the ground floor in the courtyard there were a number of entrants from last year's Parade of Alebrijes, an event which is held annually in Mexico City.

Alejandro was in agreement with me that the Museum of Popular Arts is definitely worth a visit.  It is located on corner of Independencia and Revillagigedo, one block south of the Alameda Park.


  1. My favorite one of the 132 museums in Mexico City....or is it 123. I know of all the major cities in the world, Mexico City has more museums then any other.

    This museum, in my humble opinion, is an absolute delight. The displays are so well done. The building lends itself to the exhibits. Haven't been there in about 8 years. Need to go back, soon.

  2. I agree. I think that if I were to play "tour guide" to someone in Mexico City, the 3 museums that I would include on the itinerary are the Anthropology Museum (a highlights tour), the Templo Mayor Museum, and the Museum of Popular Arts.