Zoology in Mexican art, Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City

The exhibition “Zoology in Mexican art”, has an area of insects, mammals, amphibians and reptiles reproduced from different materials or that appear in paintings and objects, such as vessels, pots and dishes, which accounts for the richness of flora and fauna in Mexico.

More than 600 pieces that take up the iconography of the fauna of the whole country are exhibited at the Museum of Popular Art (MAP), in the exhibition “Zoology in Mexican art”.

Zoology in Mexican art, is a compendium of archaeological pieces, vessels, paintings and toys through which it seeks to raise awareness of the importance of the animal universe that cohabits with us and especially as an inspirational source of all humanity.

There is no record of when the animals became elements of representation, but since the epochs of the caverns there are examples of zoological iconography, hence the purpose of the exhibition Zoology in Mexican art, which will house the Museum of Popular Art.

The exhibition covers the pre-Hispanic era and the eighteenth century, until it reaches the works of popular, modern and contemporary art.

Some of the works were provided by: the Museum of Anthropology, The Templo Mayor, the Franz Mayer Museum, Papalote Museo del Niño and the Tamayo Museum of Contemporary Art, with works by renowned artists, such as Francisco Toledo, Rufino Tamayo, Agustín Lazo, Juan Soriano, Lilia Carrillo and Brian Nissen.

“We will see, for example, the jaguar in pre-Hispanic pieces, in cave painting, codex and folk art, so that the public can see how this icon has been a key representation in all Mexican culture,” said Walther Boelsterly, director of the Museum.

Some of the fundamental pieces are those that represent the golden eagle, an important symbol in our culture and that can be seen in materials such as petatillo mud.

“The idea of presenting an exhibition of this nature is to present to the public the importance of what biodiversity means, on the one hand, but above all zoomorphic iconography for culture, because since the beginning of man on earth he has captured the images of animals everywhere: in their clothing, in the walls of the caverns where they lived, in their everyday objects, ”explains Walther Boesterly, director of the site.

The exhibition also has an area of insects, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, in addition to a special area dedicated to the toy store with some works by Toledo.

They emphasize pieces like the Dog Barking to the Moon by Rufino Tamayo and the Toro Echado by Juan Soriano.

Boelsterly, stressed that there are also works by popular artists whose quality are “important and transcendental” pieces regardless of whether it is an “academic” or a “craftsman”, such as the Oaxacan Jacobo Angeles with his work El Coyote.

“You will see a tree where you can see the evolutions, a timeline where you can see the arrival and importance of certain species, the symbolism of animals in Mexican culture and a tour of wildlife and all their ways of presenting themselves through Mexico,” said the official.

And since time immemorial, images of animals have been reproduced, initially embodied in rocky walls of caves and even in small fragments of bone and some woods, today fossilized.

There is also a special area dedicated to the toy store, since the presentation of the animal has been the most recurring theme in traditional pieces made of ceramics, wood, vegetable fibers, cardboard, candy, tin and wax.

Ceramics representing armadillos, deer, birds, dogs, cats, monkeys, rabbits, among many other animals, made with the cardboard technique and that stand out for their cheerful and vibrant colors.

Handicrafts coexist with works by Toledo, Tamayo, Hermenegildo Bustos, Juan Soriano and other artists in the zoological exhibition of the Museum of Popular Art.

“We would not have to differentiate the academic part from that of an artisan, who make truly spectacular pieces, with enormous simplicity, humility and creativity, and that is simply distributed in different ways in the world,” said Boelsterly.

In addition, there are images of caves, petroglyphs, the works of the Templo Mayor and somehow we are walking through the different groups and families of animals.

Zoology is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct, and how they interact with their ecosystems. The term is derived from Ancient Greek ζῷον, zōion, i.e. “animal” and λόγος, logos, i.e. “knowledge, study”.

Structural Zoology
Cell biology studies the structural and physiological properties of cells, including their behavior, interactions, and environment. This is done on both the microscopic and molecular levels, for single-celled organisms such as bacteria as well as the specialized cells in multicellular organisms such as humans. Understanding the structure and function of cells is fundamental to all of the biological sciences. The similarities and differences between cell types are particularly relevant to molecular biology.

Anatomy considers the forms of macroscopic structures such as organs and organ systems. It focuses on how organs and organ systems work together in the bodies of humans and animals, in addition to how they work independently. Anatomy and cell biology are two studies that are closely related, and can be categorized under “structural” studies.

Physiological Zoology
Physiology studies the mechanical, physical, and biochemical processes of living organisms by attempting to understand how all of the structures function as a whole. The theme of “structure to function” is central to biology. Physiological studies have traditionally been divided into plant physiology and animal physiology, but some principles of physiology are universal, no matter what particular organism is being studied. For example, what is learned about the physiology of yeast cells can also apply to human cells. The field of animal physiology extends the tools and methods of human physiology to non-human species. Physiology studies how for example nervous, immune, endocrine, respiratory, and circulatory systems, function and interact.

Evolutionary Zoology
Evolutionary research is concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change over time, and includes scientists from many taxonomically oriented disciplines. For example, it generally involves scientists who have special training in particular organisms such as mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, or entomology, but use those organisms as systems to answer general questions about evolution.

Evolutionary biology is partly based on paleontology, which uses the fossil record to answer questions about the mode and tempo of evolution, and partly on the developments in areas such as population genetics and evolutionary theory. Following the development of DNA fingerprinting techniques in the late 20th century, the application of these techniques in zoology has increased the understanding of animal populations. In the 1980s, developmental biology re-entered evolutionary biology from its initial exclusion from the modern synthesis through the study of evolutionary developmental biology. Related fields often considered part of evolutionary biology are phylogenetics, systematics, and taxonomy.

Descriptive Zoology
Once the animal world has been studied in embryological, histological, functional aspects, etc. A prototype can be described for each of the species, but previously it is essential to proceed with the exposition of a series of multiple relative considerations of history called systematic classification.

Ethology Zoology
Ethology is the scientific and objective study of animal behavior under natural conditions, as opposed to behaviourism, which focuses on behavioral response studies in a laboratory setting. Ethologists have been particularly concerned with the evolution of behavior and the understanding of behavior in terms of the theory of natural selection. In one sense, the first modern ethologist was Charles Darwin, whose book, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, influenced many future ethologists.

Biogeography Zoology
Biogeography studies the spatial distribution of organisms on the Earth, focusing on topics like plate tectonics, climate change, dispersal and migration, and cladistics. The creation of this study is widely accredited to Alfred Russel Wallace, a British biologist who had some of his work jointly published with Charles Darwin.

The taxonomy covers the exploration and systematic tabulation of the facts concerning the recognition of all existing and extinct species of animals and their distribution in space and time.

Systematic classification
In the study of plants and that of animals, specialists are interested both in the similarities and in the differences that species present in order to achieve their logical and systematic grouping. Once this classification procedure has been admitted, the need to adopt a nomenclature that is universally compromised is evident in order to overcome the limitation of local or national denominations.

The main varieties of zoological workers located under this heading are:

The museologists of yesteryear and their modern representatives, the curators and descriptors of zoological collections.
Early explorers and modern naturalists travelers and writers about zoogeography.
Fossil collectors and paleontologists.

Gradually, since the time of Hunter and Cuvier, the anatomical study has been dissociating each time from morphography, until today no one considers of value an animal study that does not include in its approach the internal structure, histology and embryology.

The true rise of zoology after the legendary period of the Middle Ages is linked to the name of an Englishman, Edward Edward Wotton, born in Oxford in 1492, who worked as a doctor in London and died in 1555. He published a treatise entitled De differentiis animalium in Paris in 1552. In many ways Wotton was simply an exponent of Aristotle, whose doctrine (with several imaginary additions), constituted the true base of zoological knowledge throughout the Middle Ages. The merit ofWotton was the rejection of the legendary and fantastic arguments, and his return to Aristotle and the observation of nature.

The most effective method to notice the progress of zoology during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is to compare Aristotle’s classifying conceptions with those of successive naturalists, those that can be found in Caldon’s works.

Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City
The Museum of Popular Art is an institution dedicated to promoting and preserving Mexican folk art.It is located in the Historic Center of Mexico City on a site that belonged to an old fire station, the museum contains a collection that includes rugs, ceramics, glasses, piñatas, alebrijes, furniture, toys, kitchen utensils, among other objects. However, the museum is known primarily as a sponsor of the annual Alebrijes Night parade in which fantastic creatures are built on a monumental scale and then parade from the Zocalo to theIndependence Monument, competing for prizes.

The Museo de Arte Popular opened in March 2006. Its purpose is to serve as a reference for Mexican crafts as well as promoting them through workshops, and other events to both Mexico and foreign tourism. and dignify Mexican crafts though restoration of older works and the promotion of their creation both inside and outside the museum itself.

The permanent collection contains both older and newer craft pieces from the various traditions that make up Mexican culture. The collection was gathered through the generosity of individual donors. Some of the principal private donors include Alfonso Romo of Grupo Savia, who had promoted crafts for a number of years. He donated 1,400 pieces towards the opening of the museum. The second donor was Carlota Mapeli, who came to Mexico from Italy in the 1970s and dedicated herself to collecting embroidered garments and other textiles. She donated 400 pieces, many of which were weaved on backstrap looms.

The collection is organized into five permanent halls divided by theme, and two dedicated to “grand masters” each of which contains various kinds of crafts. The five themed halls are called “Las raices del arte mexicano” (Roots of Mexican art), “Las raices del arte popular” (Roots of crafts or popular art), “Lo cotidiano” (Everyday things), “Lo religioso” (Religious items) and “Lo fantasmagico” (Fantastic and magical things). The collection fills three of the four levels of the building, for a total of 7,000 square meters. There is also a temporary exhibit hall and an “interpretation” room which has pieces from all 32 federal entities (states and Distrito Federal) of Mexico. Crafts displayed here are of many different types including pottery, basketry, wood carving, precious metal working, glasswork, textiles, papier-mâché and others. The museum also has a research center with a library and a periodical archive.