Lele Doll: The patrimonial and spiritual beauty of Querétaro

The ancient peoples of Central and South America relied on traditions that transcended the physical plane, in the hope that the spirit, in addition to learning in life when sleeping, would be safe when leaving the earthly body. This was done in different ways and the use of the Lele Doll is not an exception, but rather a transcendental significance to bridge a cultural and spiritual gap between indigenous people and the so-called “white man”.

What is a Lele Doll, the Mexican doll?

The Lele Doll or Soloyol Doll is part of the Otomi legacy to the world. In the beginning of time and according to oral narrations that were later reproduced in documents, they were made of clay and filled with corn and palm hair. Nowadays they are filled with cloth and some other materials that we could even define “ecological”.

For this reason and since its origins it has been intermingled with the Muñeca María or the Mexican rag doll María (rag doll or Mazahua).

lele doll mexican rag doll
Lele Doll that we have for sale at Makpalli.

Meaning of the Mexican doll

The word Lele means “baby” in the Otomi dialect. It was the way that this indigenous people of Amealco in Querétaro (Mexico), found as a social conjunction in the use of porcelain dolls that the conquerors and new residents brought from Europe, with their traditional values.

Mainly these figures were created to protect deceased children from evil spirits on their return to eternity. The Mexican rag doll was also placed on the adolescents and adults who possessed it, upon their death, for the same purposes.

Current value of the Lele doll

Since 2018 its value is as Mexican Cultural Heritage. It has unified gender roles, made more relevant the craftsmanship of the indigenous artisans of Querétaro who spend several days painting, sewing and decorating the figures.

lele doll mexican doll hancrafted

The internationalization of the Lele Doll or Dönxu has captivated thousands of people with its image. But what she encloses, which more than mysticism is a deep love for transcending -in life and death-, is the duty that all Mexican people have to explain, promote and defend as a way to ascend.

This figure Ar Lele of Mazahua influence is the feeling and doing of a society that seeks to structure itself within the communities. Querétaro defends its promotion and handmade commercialization because therein lies another message that gives two additional values to the Mexican doll:

  1. A way of encounter between traditions, beliefs, and emotions that all human beings live and that the presence of this picturesque and beautiful Mexican rag doll, makes flourish.
  2. A doll called “baby” and it is well known that this word spiritually means hope, rebirth, transcend, alternative, evolution, a beginning. And with the Lele Doll, the indigenous people have wanted to say that caring and bewaring of evil, is an infinite form that goes beyond the earthly.

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1 thought on “Lele Doll: The patrimonial and spiritual beauty of Querétaro”

  1. I didn’t know the significance of this little Lele doll. I love them. I have always wanted one of my own and on my last trip to Mexico, I finally acquired one for me.


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