TITLE: Rey de Moros
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Rey de Moros (King of the Moors)
MAKER: Antonio Vázquez Tepo (Xico, 1933-2017)
CEREMONY: Danza de los Moros y Cristianos
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint
The Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians), also known as the Danza de la Conquista, is an important celebration in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The dance reenacts the reconquest Spain from the Saracens by the European Christians. The dance arose from the teachings of missionaries as part of an effort to instill respect for and fear of the Spaniards in the indigenous peoples, and to convince them that the victory of Christianity over other faiths—by violence whenever necessary—was inevitable.
The dance is still performed widely in Mexico, including in Mexico State, Michoacán, Puebla, and Veracruz. Characters vary depending on locality, although they always include “Christians” or “Spaniards” and Moors. This mask represents the King of the Moors (Rey de Moros), a central character of the drama who directs his troops against the Spaniards and ultimately surrenders.