By James Griffith
The place it divides Arizona and Sonora, the foreign boundary among Mexico and the us is either a political fact, actually expressed by means of a fence, and, to a substantial measure, a cultural phantasm. Mexican, Anglo, and local American cultures straddle the fence; humans of varied ethnic backgrounds circulate from side to side around the synthetic divide, regardless of expanding stumbling blocks to unfastened move. On each side is located a posh cultural mixture of ethnic, spiritual, and occupational teams. In A Shared area James Griffith examines the various targeted folks expressions of this diversified cultural zone.
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Extra info for A Shared Space: Folklife in the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands
They are constandy changing. In 1984, six-pack rings and egg cartons provided raw materials for some makers of artificial flowers. A few years later, flowers were made of colored plastic shopping bags. Who knows what contemporary objects will be recycled as floral offerings in the year 2000? The superficial materials keep changing and will continue to do so. But it is my hope that the vital impulse to celebrate family continuity and to express a cultural heritage will persevere as it has for so many years.
However, the colors seem more restrained in the shops on the Arizona side of the line. ) Arizona families make coronas of paper flowers as well as of such contemporary materials as styrofoam egg cartons and plastic six-pack holders. Some grow their own marigolds for the occasion or decorate their graves with potted marigolds 28 A Shared Space which they will later plant. The great profusion of cut blossoms on some graves in Sonora is not duplicated on the Arizona side. Lacking, too, is the commercial activity at the entrance to the cemetery that is so striking at the Panteon Nacional.
The arms of the crosses often end in decorative finials. Wroughtiron crosses usually have the ends of their arms worked into decorative finial patterns. Flattened points are popular, as are ends where the iron bar has been split into two or three points, with the outer points curled back. Finally, decorative ftligree metal work may appear on and between the arms of the crosses. Although this work appears to have the potential for an almost infinite variety of patterns, in reality a small basic repertoire of shapes is used.
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