TITLE: Moor Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Tuzamapán de Galeana, Puebla
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Moor Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker from Tuzamapán
CEREMONY: Danza de los Moros y Cristianos
AGE: ca. 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; glue; glitter; string

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).