TITLE: Juan Negro
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo
ETHNICITY: Otomí
DESCRIPTION: Juan Negro (Cuanegro) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Juan Negro Dance Drama
AGE: ca. 2000s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

The Juan Negro (Black John) Dance Drama of the Hidalgo region tells a comic tale of a struggle between a Spanish colonist and his foreman over the love of a girl. It is sometimes spelled Juanegro or Cuanegro. The Spaniard, Juan Blanco (White John), wears a light-colored mask because of his life of shady ease, while the Juan Negro (a peasant) has dark skin from working in the sun.  In the end, Juan Blanco wins the girl, denoting the injustice the unequal wealth and power perpetuates.  For mysterious reasons, the girl is played by an unmasked man in a dress. The dance is also performed in adjoining parts of Veracruz.

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TITLE: Xantolo Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo
ETHNICITY: Otomi
DESCRIPTION: Xantolo Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Día de los Muertos
AGE: 1960s-1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; glue

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an annual celebration in Mexico whose origin dates back to the Aztecs. It was originally part of the cult of worship of the goddess Mictecacihuatl held during the summer, but with colonization it was syncretized to coincide with the Catholic holiday Allhallowtide. It is now primarily held on October 31 and November 1.

During Día de los Muertos, Mexican families set up altars (ofrendas) to memorialize departed loved ones and hold night-long vigils at their graves. It is believed that the spirits (fantasmas) visit their families, with the children returning on October 1 and the adults on November 1. The altars contain offerings of the things most enjoyed by the departed, primarily sweets and games for children and mescal, fruits, sweet bread (pan de muerto), and savory foods for adults.  In addition, townspeople in some places, such as Oaxaca, hold costumed parades (comparsas), with such characters as skeletons (calaveras), Aztecs, and devils prominently represented, mixed more recently with Halloween characters taken from U.S. popular culture.

In the Huasteca region of Mexico, which spans its central gulf coast, the celebration includes masked dances to traditional music. Masks with geometric designs like this one are most common in the state of Hidalgo.

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TITLE: Rooster Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo and Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Otomí
DESCRIPTION: Gallo (Rooster) Mask
MAKER: Ciriaco González (?), Carpinteros
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The village of Carpinteros is technically in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, but the town has spread into neighboring Veracruz.  It is inhabited by both mestizos and the indigenous Otomí people.  During Carnival, villagers dance a variety of masks with few limitations, including clowns, devils, viejos (old men), and animals of every kind.

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TITLE: Viejo Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo and Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Otomí
DESCRIPTION: Viejo (Old Man) Mask
MAKER: Ciriaco González, Carpinteros
CEREMONY: Carnival; Danza de la Conquista
AGE: 1993
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The village of Carpinteros is technically in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, but the town has spread into neighboring Veracruz.  It is inhabited by both mestizos and the indigenous Otomí people.  Like other areas of Mexico, Carpinteros has a tradition of dancing viejo masks representing old men during Carnival and other celebrations. This mask would also be used to represent a Spaniard in the Danza de la Conquista (Dance of the Conquest), portraying the Spanish reconquest of Spain from the Moors.

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TITLE: Chivo
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo
ETHNICITY: Otomi
DESCRIPTION: Chivo Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker from San Bartolo Tutotepec
CEREMONY: Carnaval de Chivos
AGE: 1950s
MAIN MATERIAL: hardwood
OTHER MATERIALS: goat horns; goat leather & hair; paint; glitter; glue; iron nails; wire; dyed polyester ribbons; brass bells

The chivo, or goat, is a popular Carnival character in the villages of El Nante and San Bartolo Tutotepec, Hidalgo. Nearly all chivo masks have the same comical and half-sinister expression, twisted nose, lined face, and goat horns pointed upward. The horns are decorated with wires holding ribbons, bells, and tassels (in this case, partially restored later). Older masks like this one are painted with subdued colors, while newer masks tend to be brighter. At some point, the owner of this mask glued glitter to the outside, which over time flaked off.

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TITLE: Chivo
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo
ETHNICITY: Otomí
DESCRIPTION: Chivo Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker from San Bartolo Tutotepec
CEREMONY: Carnaval de Chivos
AGE: 1950s or 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: hardwood
OTHER MATERIALS: goat horns; goat leather & hair; paint; glitter; glue; iron nails

The chivo, or goat, is a popular Carnival character in the villages of El Nante and San Bartolo Tutotepec, Hidalgo. Nearly all chivo masks have the same comical and half-sinister expression, twisted nose, lined face, and goat horns pointed upward. The horns are normally decorated with wires holding ribbons, bells, and tassels (in this case, missing). Older masks like this one are painted with subdued colors, while newer masks tend to be brighter.

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TITLE: Juan Negro
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo
ETHNICITY: Otomí
DESCRIPTION: Juan Negro (Cuanegro) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Juan Negro Dance Drama
AGE: ca. 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

The Juan Negro (Black John) Dance Drama of the Hidalgo region tells a comic tale of a struggle between a Spanish colonist and his foreman over the love of a girl. It is sometimes spelled Juanegro or Cuanegro. The Spaniard, Juan Blanco (White John), wears a light-colored mask because of his life of shady ease, while the Juan Negro (a peasant) has dark skin from working in the sun.  In the end, Juan Blanco wins the girl, denoting the injustice the unequal wealth and power perpetuates.  For mysterious reasons, the girl is played by an unmasked man in a dress.

This specific mask was made in the Huastec region of Hidalgo. The dance is also performed in adjoining parts of Veracruz.

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TITLE: Juan Blanco
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Hidalgo
ETHNICITY: Otomí
DESCRIPTION: Juan Blanco (Cuablanco) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Juan Negro Dance Drama
AGE: ca. 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

The Juan Negro (Black John) Dance Drama of the Hidalgo region tells a comic tale of a struggle between a Spanish colonist and his foreman over the love of a girl. It is sometimes spelled Juanegro or Cuanegro. The Spaniard, Juan Blanco (White John), wears a light-colored mask because of his life of shady ease, while the Juan Negro (a peasant) has dark skin from working in the sun.  In the end, Juan Blanco wins the girl, denoting the injustice the unequal wealth and power perpetuates.  For mysterious reasons, the girl is played by an unmasked man in a dress.

This specific mask was made in the Huastec region of Hidalgo. The dance is also performed in adjoining parts of Veracruz.

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