TITLE: Viejito de Cuchemonte
TYPE: face mask
COUNTRY: El Salvador
SUBREGION: San Salvador
DESCRIPTION: Viejito de Cuchemonte (Little Old Man of the Peccary) Mask
MAKER: Celio López (San Antonio Abad, 1962- )
CEREMONY: Baile del Cuche de Monte
AGE: 1991
MAIN MATERIAL: pito wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; shoestrings

The Baile del Cuche de Monte, also known as the Cújtan-Cuyámet, is an ancient dance performed to the music of pito flute, drum and slit drum (tepunahuaste). The dance originates in a nuptial feast offering (marconanda) from the Mayan peoples to their gods. The vieijito in this dance wears a costume designed to look as if he were riding on the back of a white-lipped peccary (javelina). He plays the role of a clown (bufón), proclaiming “Yo soy un viejo loco, y soy como es espinazo de este chuche, pelado pero sabroso” (“I am a madman, and I am like the spine of this peccary, skinned but tasty”), and persecuting the other dancers by chasing them down with his peccary, which pretends to bite them. The dancers drive him away with rods, shouting “cuuuuucheeeee.” In modern times, the dance has become a form of political theater, with the viejito sometimes representing a grasping politician. After the other dancers drive him away, they recite some rhyming doggerel about dividing up the peccary for the community. For example, “Los ojos para ese de anteojos, los chicharrones para elecciones” (The eyes for those with glasses, the fried skin for the election, etc.), ending with “la carne para los pobres y los huevos para el presidente” (the meat for the poor and the eggs for the president), considered ironical because peccaries do not even lay eggs, so nothing is left for the politicians. Finally, two masked characters appear representing the “cadejos,” mythological dog-like creatures, one black and one white, that take care of villagers (the black for men, and white for women).