Together dating dances
False wear marks, deliberate abuse and subsequent repairs are also used in this crafty craft.This Vaderesque mask from Oaxaca is a "Negrito Colmilludo" (tusked little black one).The Mask Monger brings us a spicy and sometimes humorous blend of mask relevant subjects directed toward both the traveled collector of Latin American ethnic art as well as those interested in Mexican culture. Christians & Moors - Guatemala Tusked Negrito - Oaxaca Pastorela Devil Mask - Zacatecas Borracha, Torito Dance, Guanajuato Man's mask from Guerrero Dance of the Viejitos, Michoacan Paragueros dance - Man, Tlaxcala Paragueros Dance - Woman Carnival Mask, Guanajuato Pastorela Devil Mask - Jalisco Man's Mask (Mex.origin unknown) Demon Mask, Naolinco, Veracruz Jorobado or Ermitaño, Guanajuato Clown Mask, Veracruz Mexican Buzzard Hat Other Discussions and Curiosities Fine old masks such as this are highly valued by collectors and museums.Carved in semi-hardwood with glass eyes (one broken), it has miscellaneous repairs and most of its original finish is intact.The mask has been well used and its back (link below) has a rich, dark patina more common to old Guatemalan masks than Mexican ones.The over-performed "Baile de los Viejitos" (Dance of the Llittle Old Men) is a seemingly playful festivity staged by both adults and children, particularly in the state of Michoacan.In spite of a happy ending, the tiring fandango has no real utility other than to mock a bevy of little old men, all dancing - or better to say hobbling - with feeble knees and canes while simultaneously making lecherous fools of themselves.
A distinguishing feature of the mask shown at left are the "operable eyelids" which open and close by pulling a string at the chin. During the conquest of Mexico by Cortez in the early 1500's, Tlaxcalan tribes, unfriendly with the Aztecs, abetted the Spanish in their invasion of the valley of Mexico and thus contributed significantly to the ultimate defeat of the Aztec empire.
Pulque is an ancient beverage made from the fermented maguey plant and belting down a few shots helps the uncomfortable traveler overlook any inconveniences.
Purchased at a ranchito outside Zacatecas in the late 80's, this Pastorela Devil is particularly charming in its naive and unpretentious composition, utilizing a single glass visor eye opening, animal horns, a cloth tongue and horse hair headdress.
La Borracha is characterized by an oversized, garish mask with heavy lipstick, eye makeup, rouged cheeks and wig (not shown). The complex El Torito dance has an unusual cast of colorful characters including hunchback, hermit and "El Torito" a body mask of a bull worn over the back of a small person.
Very old, beautifully carved and delicately painted.
One can easily recognize that this mask was, without question, produced in its rightful context for use in the local dances.