Mexico // The Bajío //

Museo Nacional de la Muerte

In a graceful old university building next to Templo de San Diego, the Museo Nacional de la Muerte casts a macabre eye over Mexico’s obsession with death rituals and images of death over the centuries, though it’s not as grim as it sounds. The exhibits start with Mesoamerican traditions, with plenty of ancient statuary and a massive collection of model skulls, though these are so colourfully painted, bejewelled and stylized they seem more like kids’ toys than religious totems. Labels are in Spanish only but this is really a visual experience. The museum ends with a stylish art gallery, all red-tinted, which houses an eclectic collection of death-related art from the nineteenth century on, including work by Posada and his predecessor, Manuel Manilla. Afterwards, raise your spirits in the tranquil courtyard café, in the shadow of San Diego’s main dome.