Long Live the Sugar Skull

Artists have long viewed the sugar skull, present in many of Xico’s pieces, as an artistic foundation. Recently, though, I’ve noticed that these figures have taken a different turn; into artistic expressions on skin. I often wonder if the people who get these sugar skulls etched into their bodies understand their significance.

While the Spaniards eliminated much of the Mesoamerican culture, some of their rituals have turned into the modern day of the dead celebration. Real skulls were used in the past to honor the transition between life and death and it is plausible that this had to cease after the Spaniards arrived with Catholicism. Sugar skulls could have been introduced to the remaining Mesoamericans after the Spaniards initial arrival, the plagues of diseases and battles that resulted in a great amount of mortalities. These skulls are usually made with sugar, water and meringue powder. They are usually decorated in stunning ways – but not eaten. They can be given as gifts or the names of those who have passed can be etched on.

The Día de los Muertos celebrations that go on today (don’t forget ours is on November 3rd!) are a way to honor the ancestors and their traditions as well as those we have loved and lost recently.