Tomb Ornament
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© Colette Urbajtel/ Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Mexican, 1971
Gelatin silver print
10 1/2 x 10 3/8 in.

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In contrast to the withered brush at the foot of this cross, festive paper flowers and ribbons adorn the top of this grave marker. Manuel Alvarez Bravo photographed this scene from a low vantage point to illustrate the multiple layers of crosses at work. According to Mexican culture, life and death, intertwined with the idea of rebirth, represent stages of a cosmic process that repeats itself incessantly. Death, therefore, becomes an intricate part of everyday life. Perhaps these decorations were left over from the rituals of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, when people visit the cemetery to honor their deceased relatives.