Sánchez y Tapía, Lino (unknown–1838)

By: John C. Ewers

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1996

Updated: July 28, 2017

Lino Sánchez y Tapía, of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, was a scientific illustrator for Jean Louis Berlandier in the 1830s. Watercolor sketches of Hispanic and Indian costume in Texas indicate that Sánchez trained in an early nineteenth-century Mexican art school. His work closely corresponds to that of a Mexican group of artists called the Costumbristas-painters of regional, ethnic, and class costume. This subject became popular with natural scientists in the eighteenth century and was introduced into Mexico in 1825 by an Italian student of costume, Claudio Linati. Sánchez's sketches resemble traditional European fashion plates. "Each figure is posed like a mannequin...Arms and legs [are] set so as to expose details of costume and accessories. Anatomy is conventionalized with no specific tribal or ethnic types." The similarities of Sánchez's drawings to Linati's civil, military, and religious dress are unmistakable. The accuracy of these drawings, however, is questionable; the medium of watercolor makes representing constructional details difficult, many of the images are possibly based on verbal descriptions from Berlandier, and Sánchez may not have had much knowledge about contemporary fashionable costume.

In 1828 the Mexican government organized an expedition into Texas called the Comisión de Límites. The supervisor was Manuel de Mier y Terán, Berlandier was chosen as zoologist and botanist, and sublieutenant José María Sánchez y Tapía joined the group as cartographer and draftsman. Nowhere do the records of the Comisión de Límites indicate that Lino Sánchez y Tapía was a member of the party that entered Texas in 1828. However, upon the death of José on August 18, 1834, it appears that Lino was chosen as his replacement. Though documentation is unavailable, Lino may have been a close relative of José; both appear to have come from Matamoros.

Sánchez y Tapía's important illustrations of Texas Indians in typical attire are reproduced in The Indians of Texas in 1830 (1969) by Jean Louis Berlandier. Most of these drawings are labeled as after originals by either José María Sánchez y Tapía or by Berlandier himself. Yet one of them picturing the Karankawa Indians of the Gulf Coast bears only the name of Lino Sánchez y Tapía. Other illustrations by Sánchez consist of watercolor sketches of firearms and horse trappings, zoological and botanical subjects, drawings of Texas towns, and Hispanic ranchers in Texas.

Richard E. Ahlborn, "European Dress in Texas, 1830: As Rendered by Lino Sánchez y Tapia," American Scene 13 (1972). Jean Louis Berlandier, Indians of Texas in 1830, ed. John C. Ewers and trans. Patricia Reading Leclerq (Washington: Smithsonian, 1969).

  • Peoples
  • Mexican Americans
  • Visual Arts
  • Graphic Arts
  • Painting

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

John C. Ewers, “Sánchez y Tapía, Lino,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/sanchez-y-tapia-lino.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996
July 28, 2017

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