TITLE: Moor Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
ETHNICITY: Mayan (Kaqchikel)
DESCRIPTION: Moro (Moor) Mask
CATALOG #: LAGT036
MAKER: Juan Sinay (San Antonio Aguas Calientes, 1867-1957)
CEREMONY: Baile del Torito
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; hardware repairs
The Baile de lor Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians), also sometimes called the Danza de la Conquista, is an annual ceremony in several cities of Guatemala, usually during a holiday in honor of the town’s patron saint. The dance tells the story of the reconquest of the Spain from the Moors in 1492. In the dance, one character represents the Moorish king, another the queen, and a third the Christian king. In addition, one or more Moorish soldiers are represented, as well as an angel in some versions. After a ritual battle, the Moors are vanquished or converted to Catholicism.
For more on Guatemalan masks, see Jim Pieper, Guatemala’s Masks and Drama (University of New Mexico Press, 2006).