Charro Bookends: Gray metal and “mexican marble or onyx”. Height 6.25 inches. Inscription: ArtemetalicA S.A. Hecho en Mexico.
The charro is a Mexican horseman or cowboy who competes in a charreada. HIs traditional costume is a fancy sombrero, a beautifully-embroidered short jacket, tightly-cut and decorated trousers, and boots. With lariat in hand, our bookend charro is ready to win the heart of a lady while showing off his skill with the rope.
The Charreada is a Mexican rodeo, and it is the national sport of Mexico. It is a formal exhibition of horsemanship that dates back to the sixteenth century and is a predecessor of the American rodeo. Today charreadas can be seen in Mexico (Click here for photos of a Charreada from The Guardian in 2014) and in the U.S (Click here for a link to the San Antonio, Texas organization ). We found these bookends in the heart of California’s Central Valley, which has a tradition of rodeos and vaqueros.
Oil portrait of a Charro by R. Washburn, ca. 1950.
Print of Mexican Dancers
It is unusual to see metal bookends from Mexico. Most Mexican bookends we see are relatively crudely shaped stone pairs, generally greenish yellow, sold as mexican onyx. They can be found in craft and tourist shops at border crossings.
Mexican Stone Bookends: Carved from “Mexican Onyx or Marble”. Height 5.75 inches. Unmarked. Twentieth century. Tourist item.
Detail of Charro sculpture. Note the embroidery on the jacket sleeves and the galas that decorate the trousers.
These Charro figures are finely cast of metal and each is mounted on single block of mexican onyx. The detail is excellent. You can see the embroidery on the jacket and the metal “galas” down the outside seams of the pants. There is a paper label on one of the bookends identifying the maker as
Paper labels on base of one of the Charro Bookends
Recently we visited a bronze foundry in Tijuana, B.C.,Mex. . While our bookends were not made at this particular foundry, it is an example of the type of foundries to be found in Mexico where quality casting work like this is done today.
Interior of bronze foundry, Tijuana, BC, Mex.
Small western bronze figures, unfinished.