The meaning behind the Mexican Catrina Tattoos

Created by Diego Rivera, who in turn was inspired by the characters of the Posada, this mysterious, sensual figure is here to stay in the third millennium.

The Mexican Catrina (or Katrina) is a skeletal female figure dressed in luxurious garments with flowing hair, an ostrich feather boa and all manner of elegant accessories. In tattoo art she remains one of the most popular subjects of the third millennium as a symbol and in terms of mere visual impact.

Posada’s drawings, known as “La Calavera Garbancera”, symbolised and ridiculed those Mexicans who gave themselves the airs of European nobles even though they had Indios blood, thus disowning their true native culture.

Later on, Diego Rivera brought Posada’s figure up to date, adding dappert clothing to his catrin (in the sense of well-dressed men) and inventing a female counterpart (Catrina) in his much admired mural painted in 1947 “Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central” (Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central).