TLALCHICHI

The dog-human duo has been a historic connection in different cultures around the
world. In Pre-Hispanic Mexico, this synergistic relationship was present in their
cosmogony, extending beyond life and being reflected in their myths, legends, and a
wide variety of artistic representations.

Within the framework of our Day of the Dead festivities, the Jacobo & María Ángeles Workshop
showcases one of the lesser-known breeds from the pre-Hispanic era: The Tlalchichi, which in
Nahuatl means << “little floor dog” >>, owing to its short stature, which, compared
to other breeds, was its most distinctive feature. The sculptural
representations most closely related to the qualities of the Tlalchichis are the ceramic vessels
produced in the shaft tomb culture, from which the workshop draws inspiration to recreate
their playful poses and forms in copal wood carvings.

It is known that in Pre-Hispanic Mexico, there were four dog breeds: the itzcuintli (common
dog), the xoloitzcuintli (hairless dog), the malix (Maya dog), and the tlalchichi: a short
and chubby little dog that originated in Western Mesoamerica in the
present-day states of Nayarit, Colima, Sinaloa, Jalisco, and Michoacán. These were places where
a large number of ceramic sculptures of low, round dogs were found, accompanying the
deceased in mortuary enclosures known as shaft tombs. Their close
relationship with these animals, their presence in people’s everyday and religious
lives, signifies the significance of dogs in the worldview of the Western peoples.

Lying down, eating, dancing, the Tlalchichis are adorned with costumes evoking
ornamented skins in colors inspired by pre-Hispanic codices. The workshop has created
dynamic combinations where reds, greens, oranges, and blues come together through
Zapotec iconography. These symbols are interpreted through the creativity of the
workshop’s artists and craftsmen, who, through carving, painting, and
meticulous application of gold leaf, breathe life into the relationship between dogs and
humans. In this way, they significantly contribute to the preservation and transmission
of our valuable pre-Hispanic heritage.

The Jacobo and María Ángeles Workshop, committed to preserving this identity,
creates this collection based on reflections on the representation and symbolism of the
Tlalchichi to interweave paths in which the past and present merge into new
characters seeking validation based on Mesoamerican cosmology and their
current place. Materiality and symbolism interact in the exhibition as elements that offer
an approach to what dogs were and are in our lives, suggesting an
inevitable future where we are accompanied by these loyal beings.

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FORMULARIO DE COLECCIONES - DETRÁS DE UNA MÁSCARA 2022

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Copyright© 2021 Jacobo y Maria Angeles. All rights reserved Frequently Asked Questions

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