TITLE: Tigre Mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
CEREMONY: Batalla de los Tigres (Tecuanis)
MAIN MATERIAL: canvas cloth
OTHER MATERIALS: leather ears; mirrors; wood nose; animal teeth; adhesive; paint
In Guerrero, Mexico, the Batalla de los Tigres (Tiger Battles) are today part of the Catholic feast day of the Holy Cross, but its origins probably reach back into the pre-conquest era worship of a jaguar god (notwithstanding the name and appearance of the mask, there are no tigers in any part of the Americas). Indeed, in many parts of Guerrero, the dancers are referred to as tecuani, the Nahuatl word for jaguar (literally, “man-eater”). The modern dance is used to summon rain for the spring planting season. The jaguars engage in a fierce battle, striking each other with knotted ropes.