Spanish Colonial Revival School Chair

Spanish Colonial Revival School Chair

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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.
Description (Spanish)
La producción e intercambio de artesanías, como cerámicas y textiles, formaba parte de las economías del sudoeste y de Mesoamérica siglos antes del arribo de los africanos, españoles y otros europeos a América. Mientras que México central se conectó casi de inmediato con la economía global luego de la conquista española, a principios de la década de 1520, áreas fronterizas como Nuevo México permanecieron aisladas y relativamente autosuficientes hasta mediados del siglo XIX. Sin embargo, una vez que Nuevo México se incorporó a los Estados Unidos, fueron llegando nuevos residentes de habla inglesa y turistas, primero en vagones y luego en ferrocarriles, perturbando las economías de las comunidades hispanas y pueblo ya establecidas. A principios del siglo XX ya había surgido una nueva forma de sustento para los artesanos locales—la creación de artesanías para el mercado turístico. El turismo demandaba productos que respondieran a los estereotipos sin dejar de ser auténticos. Esta silla en el estilo colonial español es obra de Hipólito Sisneros, quien la fabricó en 1945 mientras estudiaba en la Escuela Vocacional Educativa. Utilizando una técnica decorativa denominada piqueteado (tallado a cuchilla), Sisneros creó esta silla al estilo de los muebles de Nuevo México de principios del siglo XIX. Luego de la década de 1930 muchos hispanos como Cisneros, y también nativoamericanos, pudieron inscribirse en escuelas de artesanías como esta, en un esfuerzo del estado de Nuevo México por respaldar a las cooperativas de artesanías locales dirigidas a los consumidores angloamericanos.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Taos Municipal School
Sisneros, H.
Place Made
United States: New Mexico, Taos, Taos
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
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Tourist Trade
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ethnic
Cultures & Communities
Domestic Furnishings
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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