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Cinco de Mayo y La Paloma Dos Cabezas

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Mexican Pottery136 of 183Very large tazza - footed plate - Tlalquepaque, MexicoTonala Burnished Pottery Horse by Solis - Mexico
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (365 items)

    I couldn't let Cinco de Mayo pass without doing my part to celebrate the Mexican culture. We'll see how that turns out.

    This vase is a puzzler to me. It is relatively new (maybe five years old at most), from Tonala, Mexico made of burnished earthenware in a very typical form and style and all would be well and good if it weren't for the two-headed birds. I've scoured several reference books on Mexican folk art and the symbolism used in it. I've seen images of doves, quails, partridges, ducks, and eagles - all with only one head.

    I read this fascinating and ridiculously detailed history of the use of the two-headed eagle in (mostly) Western Civilization symbolism provided by the Masons. You can read that here - - if you like, but it offered no way to tie the symbol to the Mexican culture. Apparently though, two-headed birds (or other animals) were originally intended as symbols of the power of unification.

    This vase has both a two-headed eagle (aguila) and a two-headed dove (paloma) - the hunter and the hunted; the aggressive and the meek. The eagle is black; the dove is white - the universal opposites without which each other would not exist - sort of the Mexican representation of the yin and yang. (Maybe because of the two heads that should be yin-yin and yang-yang.) Maybe the two-headed birds are a statement about the toxic environment.

    I think I'll pass along my befuddlement and go have a cerveza.
    Feliz Cinco de Mayo.

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    1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 5 years ago
      Did you notice that Cinco de Mayo came on the 5th this year ?

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