The trees of life are from Mexico. They are vivid in colour and joyful in design. They are made of tin, iron and clay. They influence of the Aztec past and the Catholic present can be seen in the choice of colours and imagery. They offer a tree at Christmas time without the lost of space and abundance of needles. They can be used year after year so it could be said have a green advantage.
One village in Mexico called Metepec is particularly renowned for making painted terracotta Trees of Life. However trees of life are made all over Mexico, each region having it’s own distinctive style. Trees of life are present in all civilisations. They represent fertility, a motif for religions, philosophy: a concept for interconnectedness on our planet. In Christian art Trees of Life represent earthly paradise, the Garden of Eden and the forbidden fruit.
After the Spanish invasion of Mexico, 500 years ago, Mexican art has become a hybrid art embracing several cultures. The Spanish introduced a Christian take on Moorish styles and traditions. The indigenous contribution can be seen in a preference for strong colours, the abstracted figures and the syncretism of Aztec and Mayan Gods into Christian Art.
The Mexican Trees of Life traditionally represent the myth of Adam and Eve’s banishment from Earth but interpreted through indigenous religious beliefs. They also represent Earth’s fertility, which involves dying to be reborn. The tree form is now used to depict many different stories including trees of death.
Milagros has an ever-changing collection of trees of life made from tin, iron and clay, from various regions of Mexico and by different artists in those regions.