TITLE: Moor Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: “Cardface” Moor mask in yellow, red and black
CATALOG ID: LAMX154
MAKER: Pedro Sol Sánchez (Tuzamapán de Galeana, 1945- )
CEREMONY: Danza de los Moros y Cristianos
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; hardware
The Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians) reenacts the reconquest of Spain by the Christians from the Muslim Saracens. The story was taught by 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. Important characters include Spaniards, Moors, saints, angels, and devils. This Moro takes a form typical only in the village of Tuzamapan and is commonly known as an “enamorado” (lover) or “card face” Moor, because the makers there often include symbols from playing cards (hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs). More recently, designs like this one have been inspired by the masks used in the popular lucha libre (wrestling).