TITLE: Cora Tiznado Mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Tiznado (Judio) Mask
CEREMONY: Semana Santa (Holy Week)
AGE: late 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: watercolor paint; cotton cloth; cotton wadding; elastic straps
The Cora people of Nayarit resisted Spanish colonization and proselytization long after most of Mexico succumbed, and their pre-Christian traditions still survive with a thin veneer of Catholicism. Traditionally, the Cora worship three gods, associated with the sun, the moon, and corn.
During the Semana Santa (Holy Week), Cora men paint their bodies with black and white stripes and wear judio (Jew) masks (also called borrados) designed to look like monsters and devils that carry swords and persecute the sun god, who takes the Catholic form of Jesus of Nazareth. The characters are known as tiznados (“covered with ash”). On Good Friday, the judios capture and kill the sun god, who is resurrected the next day and banishes the judios.