Mexican Rag Dolls

Mexican rag dolls, also known as Marías or muñecas de trapo, traditionally come from the state of Querétaro, in central Mexico. However, some sources indicate that the most popular dolls could also have originated among the Mazahua people, in the western state of Michoacán.

Before the arrival of the Spaniards, the indigenous peoples of Mexico used to put small dolls made from clay and corn hair on the tombs of little children. After the Conquest, thanks to European influence, the style of dolls and the materials used for their fabrication began to change. The most common María doll became well known in the second half of the twentieth century.

The world-famous María doll has a wide face, a traditional indigenous dress, braids and colorful ribbons. The color of the skin varies. Recently, a Frida Kahlo version of the doll has gained popularity in Mexico.

Most of these dolls are made by the Otomí indians living in Amealco, Querétaro. The Marías are usually made in small workshops, either by hand or with the help of a sewing machine. This industry is very important for the town of Amealco, which hosts an annual Doll Festival and is home to the Museo de la Muñeca (Doll Museum).