Librería Porrúa's Sor Juana Book Mosaic
In the 17th century, Inés De Asbaje Y Ramirez de Santillana, a young woman who would later be known as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, rose to become a prolific writer. Her writings significantly impacted the literary, religious, and feminist realms of New Spain, which is now Mexico. During those times, women were not allowed to receive an education; however, religious women were an exception. Sor Juana joined a nunnery in her mid-teens in 1667 to pursue her passion for learning. Two years later, she entered Convento de San Jerónimo in Mexico City and remained cloistered there until she died in 1695.
Despite the limitations posed by her cloistered life, Sor Juana wrote extensively on various topics, including poetry and philosophical treatises. Her works often challenged the status quo and advocated for women's rights, which was unusual for the time, particularly for someone who was part of the patriarchal Catholicism. Sor Juana's writings were not only a result of her pursuit of knowledge but also a rebellion against the social norms and gender roles of her time. Her works continue to serve as an inspiration to many even today.
Sor Juana is a well-known Mexican figure whose influence and contributions are still felt and celebrated today. Her impact is so significant that her face has been featured on Mexican banknotes since the 1970s. In addition, a beautiful mosaic of Sor Juana's portrait can be seen in the Porrúa bookstore in the heart of the city's historic centre.
The Porrúa bookstore was established in 1900 by three brothers who emigrated from Spain. The flagship store, which opened in 1910, is housed in a building that dates back to the 18th century. The Porrúa brothers' 1914 Mexican poetry compilation is considered one of the country's first modern books printed and edited entirely, a testament to their dedication to promoting Mexican literature.
The mosaic in the Porrúa bookstore is an elegant tribute not only to Sor Juana's contributions but also to the cultural heritage of Spanish-Mexican literature. The mural, unveiled on November 12, 2020, is a stunning work made entirely from books and artists' charcoal. The mosaic stands tall at 4.8 meters and is 3.6 meters wide, making it a breathtaking sight.
The choice of November 12 for the mosaic's unveiling was not a coincidence. This date marks the 372nd anniversary of Sor Juana's birth, and November 12 was also chosen as Mexico's National Book Day in 1980 in honour of Sor Juana's significant contributions to Mexican literature. The mosaic is a beautiful and meaningful tribute to a remarkable woman and her legacy.
Porrúa Matriz, the beloved bookstore, welcomes its customers with open arms six days a week, from Monday to Saturday, operating between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, making it convenient for book lovers to visit anytime. However, the bookstore closes its doors on Sundays during school holidays to give its employees some much-needed rest. On all other days, it opens at 10 a.m. and stays open until 5 p.m., providing a peaceful environment to browse through thousands of books in a relaxed atmosphere.