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Born in the 1800s, Lupita dolls were originally made of paper mache as a substitute for more expensive porcelain dolls, and are a traditional Mexican handicraft still created today by a handful of artists.
The name Lupita is derived from the diminutive of the popular girls' name Guadalupe. Presumably the name was assigned for its ubiquity, as the dolls were toys for the poor and used by children to imitate the chores of the time. Yet every Lupita doll was unique, a result of hundreds of artisan families. Hand-crafted Lupita dolls were sold in Mexico City and other large market places for more than a hundred years. Here they remained popular until the era of plastic toys began.
Today, Lupita dolls are almost entirely decorative. Ceramic and carefully adorned, they've become an item of nostalgia displayed for comfort and good tidings. Yet they still represent the day-to-day routine of Mexico itself, from its tiny pueblos to bustling cities, and thus are significant well beyond a simple child's toy.
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