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The Pitahaya in the World of Art

Recently we came across an article by the author Adolfo Rodríguez Canto (La Pitahaya en Las Artes plásticas, La Historia y La Literatura) where he takes us on a journey through the history and art of the world of Pitahaya. Artists like Frida Kahlo gave it a lot of importance in their works. We find it really interesting and hope to acquire one of its copies very soon. Here is a summary of some of the most interesting works collected in the book.


Naturaleza Viva · Frida Kahlo · 1952

Naturaleza Viva (Living Nature) by Frida Kahlo, 1952


The pitahaya is a Mesoamerican plant that currently has roots in the cultural tradition of several nations in America and Asia and is quite well-known worldwide. At different times, it has inspired numerous artistic and literary expressions that have contributed to its increasing recognition. In the study and promotion of its cultivation and use, various artistic, historical, and literary expressions related to this interesting plant were identified and followed with special interest. At first, they were used as an aesthetic and referential element on covers and interiors of publications.


The chroniclers who arrived in America in the 16th century reported the existence of pitahayas. Pedro Mártir de Anglería (1457-1526) was the first to report it in 1494. The descriptions made in 1535 by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (1478-1557), in 1560 by Diego de Landa (1524-1579), in 1565 by Tomás López Medel (1520-1582), and in 1582 by Juan López de Melgarejo (1546-?) are quite illustrative. Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés elaborated the first known image of the pitahaya.


Historia general y natural de las indias · Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés · 1535

Historia general y natural de las indias (General and Natural History of the Indies) · Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés · 1535


Renowned contemporary writers, including Nobel Prize winner Miguel Ángel de Asturias (1899-1974), poet and writer André Breton (1896-1966), and novelist Jack London (1876-1916), have included pitahayas in their works. Poets from various nations, such as Ramón Vélez y Herrera (Cuba, 1808-1886), Clemente López Trujillo (Mexico, 1905-1981), Erasmo Rodríguez Barreto (Colombia), and Adriano Corrales Arias (Costa Rica), have written and sung about pitahayas; in the popular traditions of Yucatan, there are verses called bombas that refer to them. In Asian popular culture, the legend of the dragon fruit has already taken shape, in an interesting syncretism between a mythical element of their own and a plant they have incorporated into their cultural tradition.


Historia general y natural de las indias · Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés · 1535

The oldest work dates back to 1535, a drawing made by the Spanish chronicler Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, collected along with the rest of his illustrations in the book "Historia general y natural de las indias."


At the end of the 18th century, as part of their work in the Real Botanical Expedition to New Spain, Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy and Juan de Dios Vicente de la Cerda created two works: "Cactus triangularis" and "Hylocereus undatus."


Cactus triangularis · Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy y Juan de Dios Vicente de la Cerda

Cactus triangularis · Atanasio Echeverría y Godoy and Juan de Dios Vicente de la Cerda


In the 19th century, the English illustrator Walter Hood Fitch created the works Hylocereus triangularis (1836) and Hylocereus monacanthus (1854).


Hylocereus trangularis · Walter Hood Fitch · 1836

Hylocereus trangularis · Walter Hood Fitch · 1836


From the past century, the most remote ones are five watercolors painted in 1906 by the British illustrator Mary Emily Eaton for the famous work "The Cactaceae."


The Cactaceae · Mary Emily Eaton 1906
The Cactaceae · Mary Emily Eaton 1906

The Cactaceae · Mary Emily Eaton 1906

The Cactaceae · Mary Emily Eaton 1906


Descriptions and ilustrations of plants of the cactus family
Descriptions and ilustrations of plants of the cactus family

Descriptions and ilustrations of plants of the cactus family

Descriptions and ilustrations of plants of the cactus family · Nathaniel Lord Britton y Joseph Nelson Rose · Mary Emily Eaton


Pitahayas · Frida Kahlo · 1938

Pitahayas · Frida Kahlo · 1938


Naturaleza muerta con pitahaya · Amelia Peláez · 1942

Naturaleza muerta con Pitahaya (Still Life with Pitahaya) · Amelia Peláez · 1942


La vendedora de frutas · Olga Costa · 1951
La vendedora de frutas · Olga Costa · 1951

La vendedora de frutas (The fruit saleswoman) · Olga Costa · 1951


Pitahayas · Roberto Ossaye · 1952

Pitahayas · Roberto Ossaye · 1952


And as Adolfo Rodríguez Canto aptly concludes: "Conservation, improvement, and the diversification of ways to make use of pitahayas are indispensable. But perspectives from the visual arts, history, and literature are also necessary, as well as enjoyable; these perspectives can also help to make the importance of this phytogenetic resource even more evident. Hopefully, my book serves that purpose."


Pitahayas Dragón Ibériko

Unknown Work · Unknown Author


Dragon Fruit · Cristina Otero · 2012

Dragon Fruit · Cristina Otero · 2012

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