TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Viejito (Little Old Man) Mask
MAKER: Manuel Horta Ramos, Tocuaro
CEREMONY: Danza de los Viejitos
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; maque; plant fiber
The Danza de los Viejitos is one of the oldest ceremonies in the Purépecha regions of Michoacán. In it, four dancers dressed as old men, with white suits, a colorful sarape, beribboned straw hat, wooden clogs, and a wooden cane, dance to the music of violins, clarinets, and guitars. The purpose of the dance is to pray for a good harvest. Normally, four dancers appear, representing the four primordial elements (earth, fire, water, and air) and the four colors of maize (yellow, red, blue, white). Masks may be made of wood, paste, or terra cotta.