Hurrah! Hurrah! The same inimitable Mexican geniuses who are responsible for the Mexican Snow Globe Pyramid of Luck and the Buddha Pregnant with a Crucifix and Psychedelic Beans have created another incredible item for our luck-enhancing pleasure! This time they have managed to bring into being a brightly-coloured plastic key ring in the form of a horseshoe. Like their other fine offerings, this bizarre example of the plastic-caster's art is filled with a multi-cultural cornucopia of lucky charms. No two are alike, but perhaps these two samples, accompanied by full descriptions, will give an idea as to their wonderfulness. Judging from their contents, these charms ensure safe travel (because they are kept near one's car keys), promote gambling luck, provide protection from harm, and function as a religious petition for luck.
The key ring at the upper left is cast in orange acrylic. Starting at the lower left and moving clockwise, it contains chips of lodestone and magnetic sand, red seeds of Abrus precatorius beans, rice. red glitter, a tiny print of El Nino de Atocha, sequins, a small brass horseshoe charm, more glitter, sequins, and red bean seeds, grains of wheat, green minerals, and another red bean.
The key ring at the lower right is cast in purple acrylic. Starting at the lower left and moving clockwise, it contains chips of lodestone and magnetic sand, a red Abrus precatorius bean seed, grains of wheat, sequins, a small brass padlock charm, glitter, a tiny print of the Sacred heart of Jesus Christ, grains of rice, sequins, another red bean seed and more glitter.
The contents embedded in these lavish plastic key rings can vary quite a bit, probably at the whim of the maker. Most of them are strung on bead chain rather than attached to rings as shown here. Among the most common religious prints i have seen are the Virgin of Guadekuoe, Sacred Heart, Nino Atocha, and San Martin Caballero (who rides a horse and is thus linked to "lucky horseshoe" imagery). The most common metal charm in those that i have seen is the horseshoe, but the padlock (to keep one's car from being stolen), and the sewing scissors (for manual dexterity; popular with seamstresses) are fairly freuqent too.
The use of plastic, the astronomical-motif sequins (suns, moons, and stars), and the very notion of a key ring as an amulet mark these items as contemporary. However, the inclusion use of the psychedelic Abrus precatorius bean seed once used ceremonially by Mexican shamans, and the symbolism of edible grains as bringers of prosperity mark them as highly traditional, too. Bridging the gap between indigenous folk-magic and contemporary kitch, the Catholic holy prints and the horseshoe shape provide a glimpse of the Spanish colonial value system that dominates urban Mexico today. All in all, these key rings, like the other objects from this same factory, are a compendium of everything that is considered lucky in Mexico at this time.
Here is a quick link-list to the illustrated Lucky W pages containing key chain and key ring amulets:
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