TITLE: Diablo Mask
TYPE: face mask
COUNTRY: Guatemala
SUBREGION: Sacatepéquez
ETHNICITY: Mestizo (Spanish/Mayan)
DESCRIPTION: Diablo (Devil) Mask
MAKER: José Fermín Ordoñez (Ciudad Vieja Sacatepéquez, 1834-1910)
CEREMONY: Baile de la Legion de los 24 Diablos
AGE: ca. 1865
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint; nails; glue

Devil characters appear in several dance-dramas in Guatemala, mainly for entertainment or religious instruction.  In the Sacatepéquez Department, the Baile de la Legion de los 24 Diablos (Dance of the Legion of 24 Devils) serves this function, being an approximately three hour drama enacted during the patron saint festival on December 7-8, in honor of the Santísima Virgen de Concepción. The story involves 19 devils, including Lucifer (who is distinguished by the crown he wears), Death, a monkey, angels, a maiden, an old man, and a soul. The devils, each representing a different theme or sin, seek out a soul to condemn, but one or more angels arrive to succor the sinner. In the end, the soul regresses and goes to Hell. The drama is accompanied by dance, songs and music on traditional Mayan instruments, principally the marimba and chirima flute.

For more on Guatemalan masks, see Jim Pieper, Guatemala’s Masks and Drama (University of New Mexico Press, 2006)