TITLE: Patrón Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Guatemala
SUBREGION: Nahualá
ETHNICITY: Mayan
DESCRIPTION: Patrón (Patzcar) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Baile del Patzcar
AGE: ca. 1950s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Baile del Patzcar (Plantation Boss’s Dance) is the oldest Guatemalan dance still practiced today and evolved from a Mayan purification ritual.  In it, a dancer representing a female known as Lola performs a Mayan ritual using a white handkerchief to heal other masqueraders wearing rags and disease masks with gigantic thyroid goiters. Then gracejos representing ranch hands and carrying whips dance, comically whipping each other in mock fight over the love of the boss’s wife (Patzcarina). This mask represents the Patzcar, also called the Patrón.

For more on Guatemalan masks, see Jim Pieper, Guatemala’s Masks and Drama(University of New Mexico Press, 2006).