TITLE: Pastorela Asmodeo
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Asmodeo Mask
MAKER: Victoriano Salgado Morales, Uruapan (1920-2012)
AGE: ca. 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: gesso; maque; bull horns; sheep’s teeth
The Pastorela is the ceremonial dance drama performed in many parts of Mexico, including the state of Michoacán. Pastorelas, performed primarily at Christmas, or sometimes in February during the Shrovetide season, are primarily religious in significance. The main characters of the Dance of the Shepherds are the Devil and his minions, the Archangel Michael, shepherds, and a hermit (who paradoxically represents the ancestors of the performers). The drama revolves around the attempts of Lucifer and his demon minions to steal the baby Jesus. Other dramas performed on the occasion include the Dance of the Negritos (dance of the little blacks), relating to the importation of African slaves into Mexico by the Spaniards, and which includes an army of elegantly dressed “little Maries” (Maringuillas), and feos, or ugly clowns.
This mask represents one of three chief devils, specifically Asmodeo (Asmodeus). In Christian and Jewish mythologies, Asmodeus is one of the seven princes of Hell, and represents the vice lust. It was carved by the master mask-maker of Uruapan, Victoriano Salgado.