Spanish Colonial Revival Chair

The production and exchange of ceramics, metalwork, textiles, and other crafts were part of the economies of the Southwest and Mesoamerica centuries before the arrival of Africans, Spaniards, and other Europeans in the Americas. While central Mexico was almost immediately connected to the global economy after the Spanish conquest in the early 1520s, New Mexico and other frontier areas remained isolated and relatively self-sufficient until the mid-1800s. Once New Mexico was incorporated into the United States however, wagon trains and then railroads brought in new English-speaking residents and tourists, unsettling the economies of the established Hispano and Pueblo communities. By the early 20th century, a new livelihood emerged for local artisans—the creation of crafts for the tourist market. The tourist market demanded products that were as much about stereotypes as they were about authenticity. This Spanish Colonial Revival chair was made by Hipólito Sisneros in 1945 while he was a student at the Taos Vocational Educational School. Using a decorative technique called chip-carving, Sisneros crafted this chair in the style of New Mexican furniture from the early 1800s. After the 1930s, many Hispanics and Native Americans were enrolled in craft schools like this in an attempt by the state of New Mexico to support local craft cooperatives that targeted Anglo-American consumers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Taos Municipal School
Sisneros, H.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
varnish (overall material)
colonial revival (overall style)
chip-carved (overall production method/technique)
average spatial: 33 3/4 in x 15 7/8 in x 18 1/2 in; 85.725 cm x 40.3225 cm x 46.99 cm
Place Made
United States: New Mexico, Taos, Taos
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Tourist Trade
Cultures & Communities
Domestic Furnishings
Mexican America
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Title (Spanish)
Silla en el Estilo Colonial Español
Morrison, Howard. American Encounters: A Companion to the Exhibition at the National Museum of American History

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