TITLE: Tigre Mask
TYPE: hood mask
DESCRIPTION: Tigre (Jaguar) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in Olinalá
CEREMONY: Baile de los Tlacololeros
AGE: late 2000s
OTHER MATERIALS: boar hair; paint; boar tusks; leather tongue

The Baile de los Tlacololeros is one of the oldest folk dances of Guerrero, Mexico and predates colonization. It is performed at most major religious events, such as Easter, Day of the Holy Cross (May 3), patron saint days, and Christmas Eve. The dance represents the efforts of corn farmers to stop the depredations of a jaguar on their livestock.  A tlacololero is a farmer of the rugged, mountainous slopes of Guerrero.  The main characters are the farmers and their tracker, the perra maravilla (“wonder bitch,” the dog that helps hunt the jaguar), the farm animals, and a tigre (actually, a jaguar) such as this one.  Generally, eight to fourteen tlacololeros participate, dancing to the music of flute and drums, while the perra maravilla helps hunt and captures the jaguar.  The farmers then beat the jaguar with chirriones (braided whips) to teach it a lesson, stopping short of killing it. Unfortunately, the whipping sometimes leads to the violent expression of regional rivalries, resulting in serious injuries to the participants.  To protect themselves, the dancers wear leather chaps, blanket breeches, huaraches and thick sacks of ixtle on layers of huastle grass.