Muñeca de La Llorona

La Llorona, or the Weeping Woman, is the frightening figure of a heartbroken woman who drowned her children and haunts the night, especially by riversides. Her story is repeated to children throughout Latin America, with numerous versions circulating throughout Mexico and the American Southwest. She has been identified as the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, who, according to one legend, was heard weeping for her Aztec children on the eve of the Spanish conquest. Some identify her as the damned ghost of a poor woman from Ciudad Juárez, who stabbed her children and disposed of them in the Rio Grande in order to win the affection of a wealthy man. According to another legend, La Llorona is actually La Malinche, the crucial interpreter and lover of Hernán Cortés. After the fall of the Aztec capital, and having borne Cortés's first son, La Malinche was replaced by Cortés's first wife (who had been awaiting him in Cuba) and was hastily married off to one of his Spanish companions. La Malinche and La Llorona, whether considered as overlapping or totally separate figures, reappear frequently in Mexican popular culture, north and south of the border.
Description (Spanish)
La Llorona es la aterradora figura de una mujer acongojada de dolor que ahogó a sus hijos y desde entonces acecha por las noches, especialmente a orillas del río. Existen numerosas versiones de este cuento que se narra a los niños en Latinoamérica, circulando por todo México y el sudoeste americano. Se ha identificado al personaje como a la diosa azteca Coatlicue, a quien según cuenta la leyenda, se la escuchaba llorar por sus hijos aztecas en vísperas de la conquista española. Algunos la identifican como el fantasma condenado de una mujer pobre de Ciudad Juárez, quien apuñaló a sus hijos y los arrojó al río a fin de conquistar el amor de un hombre rico. De acuerdo a otra leyenda, La Llorona es en realidad la figura clave de La Malinche, intérprete y amante de Hernán Cortés. Después de la caída de la capital azteca, y habiendo dado a luz al primer hijo de Cortés, éste reemplazó a La Malinche por su primera esposa (quien lo había estado esperando en Cuba) y la casó precipitadamente con uno de sus compañeros españoles. La Malinche y La Llorona, ya sea que se las considere figuras superpuestas o totalmente separadas, reaparecen frecuentemente en la cultura popular mexicana, al norte y sur de la frontera.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
ca 1990-1991
McFall, Jo Anne
Physical Description
fabric (overall material)
paint (overall material)
average spatial: 15.5 cm x 11 in x 4 1/4 in; 6 3/32 in x 27.94 cm x 10.795 cm
Place Made
United States: New Mexico, Moriarty
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Native Americans
La Llorona
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Ethnic
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
La Llorona Doll

Visitor Comments

7/18/2013 3:47:21 PM
Ann Onimous
Now that is one creepy looking poppet. Fitting for such a creepily tragic legend, too.
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7/19/2013 10:03:56 AM
Awesome, interesting stuff about my culture. GRACIAS!!
10/29/2015 2:31:59 PM
comment from me
How interesting! Love Spanish Culture! Love It!!!!