September 23, 1939: Toys from Mexico acquired for the Brooklyn Museum this summer by Dr. Herbert J. Spinden of the Museum for the Education Division to use in its school class work have been made into an exhibition at the Museum to be on view until October 1st.
It is called “From Mexican Markets” and consists of toys and miniature ornaments such as dolls made of corn husks, pottery utensils, whistles, banks and animals, The featured item of the collection is a miniature kitchen five inches high and seven inches long with tiny figures of women cooking and grinding corn. The pitchers, pots and dishes used in a Mexican kitchen are all perfect replicas of everyday ones. An idea of the scale of the objects is shown in some of the pitchers which are less than a quarter of an inch high. Casual notes in the kitchen are a parrot on a porch and an unplucked turkey hanging from a hook on the wall.
Among the other toys are little baskets of straw and dyed horsehair, the smallest of which are half an inch high.
There is also a full size dance costume in the exhibition called a “China poblana”, with a bright red and green skirt, liberally decorated with sequins, and a white blouse embroidered in red. At one time this kind of costume was worn unadorned by Pueblo women. Its name derives from the legend of its origin which says that once a pirate ship brought a beautiful and wealthy Chinese princess to Mexico whore she was sold to a Pueblo merchant. She eventually became a Catholic, gave her wealth to the church and abandoned her costly Chinese dress for the simple Mexican one. As she was much beloved by the women of Puebla, they imitated her style of dross which is now known as “China poblana.”
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939 - 1941. 07-09/1939, 214.