Mexican paper crafts are not of pre-Hispanic origin. In Mexico it began during the first years of the viceroyalty, possibly towards the first half of the sixteenth century, when the first Franciscan Friars, in their eagerness to evangelize, implanted in new lands the main festivities of the Christian calendar.
In Mexican traditions and celebrations, it was customary to break the piñata, a wonderful Mexican toy with a mud soul and cardboard clothes. The tradition of the day of the Three Wise Men, on January 6 gave the children cardboard helmets with wooden swords and rag dolls for the girls.
Likewise, the day of San Juan Bautista, celebrated from the colony on June 24, the artisans made beard masks, horses and beak hats made of cardboard and paper. For the Saturday of glory were made to be burned huge cardboard judas representing devils, witches and some other character of authority not very appreciated by the people, who symbolically and cathartically destroyed by fire.
The cardboard craftsmen have made toys alluding to the Day of the Dead: skeletons, multicolored skulls, burials and tombs of gloomy black color, cardboard art that, unfortunately, gradually tends to disappear, suffocated under the supposed modernity. With the passage of time, the art of cartonería transcended the viceregal stage and new expressions came to enrich it.
Mache paper craftsmen shape their plastic creations with the basic use of paper cut and soaked in paste. Sometimes they work with molds and frameworks of reeds or wire. With these simple elements from the hands of the artisans emerge masks, helmets, dolls, horses, tombs, skeletons, skulls, joys and judas, characters from everyday life and many more pieces, colored with aniline and vinyl paintings, which provide them with a luminous finish.