TITLE: Fieros Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
ETHNICITY: Mayan (Q’eqchi’)
DESCRIPTION: Fieros Mask of Grumpy the Dwarf
MAKER: Unknown maker in Palin
CEREMONY: Baile de los Fieros
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint
The Baile de los Fieros (Dance of the Wild Ones) is performed on Corpus Christi in the streets of some small towns in Guatemala in the course of a parade. The dancers precede the town priest and the image of the town’s patron saint beginning at the church and circulating around town. The dancers wear a wide variety of masks and costumes, including clowns, animals, and popular characters. The mask participants are continuously attacked by a man in a bull costume made of a wood frame covered with leather. The bull is violently swung at the participants who attempt to dodge the attacks and are occasionally injured. The heavy masks help protect the faces of the dancers.
This specific mask dates to the 1960s and represents the character Grumpy from the 1937 Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
For more on Guatemalan masks, see Jim Pieper, Guatemala’s Masks and Drama (University of New Mexico Press, 2006).