TITLE: Pastorela Pastor (?)
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Michoacán
ETHNICITY: Purépecha
DESCRIPTION: Unknown (possibly pastor, or shepherd) mask
MAKER: Victoriano Salgado Morales, Uruapan (1920-2012)
CEREMONY: Pastorela
AGE: ca. 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: gesso; maque

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 appears to be a pastor (shepherd) mask for the Pastorela, although it could also be a ranchero (rancher), or possibly a mask for some other ceremony, such as the Danza de los Cúrpites, or possibly the Danza de los Monarcos de Naranja. It was carved by the master mask-maker of Uruapan, Victoriano Salgado.