How to Make Your Own Giant Puppet Doll with a San Miguel Artist in Mexico

Fodor’s Travel. January 2023.

n the opening scene of the blockbuster James Bond movie, Spectre, you may notice the intriguing tall skeleton puppets and skeleton-clad dancers parading the cobblestone streets. Many of these puppets were created by a third-generation local Mexican artist who is one of the few carrying on this artisanal Mexican tradition.

Hermes Arroyo Guerrero is a world-renowned artist in San Miguel de Allende in México who makes mojigangas (giant puppet dolls with oversized heads and small bodies). Dancers wear the tall 3-D handmade puppet dolls at festivals and weddings all around Mexico. The papier-mâché and fabric puppets are especially popular during weddings, as bride and grooms have their faces imaged on the faces of the giant puppets, which the wedding party then parades along with the merrymaking crowds. You can also see dozens of these dolls at annual events held throughout Mexico, such as Dia de Muertos (day of the dead), Dia de Los Locos (day of the crazy), and La Quema de Judas (Burning of Judas) during holy week.

Arroyo, now 52, has been practicing this art since he was only seven years old. While growing up in San Miguel de Allende, he watched his grandparents and father create wooden sculptures of nativity figures and saints for religious events. They were santeros–ones who creates religious statues. As a young kid, he was more attracted to the festivities centered around the patron saint days, which included a lot of food and partying. Then he started dreaming about being among the imaginative figures and started making his own art.

Continue reading on Fodor’s Travel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.