TITLE: Payaso Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Payaso (Clown) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Santo Entierro de Cristo; Fiesta de la Asunción; Carnival
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

Santo Entierro de Cristo (“Sacred Burial of Christ”) is an important festival in parts of Veracruz, particularly in the region of Teocelo, and is celebrated on the last Sunday in January. During the festival, clowns wearing red-nosed masks, animals, devils, and other characters dance to drum and trumpet music along a parade route, clicking castanets, and accompanying an image of the burial of Jesus of Nazareth. The route proceeds from the local church to a large floral arch dubbed El Calvario, where mass is held. The procession is accompanied by drums and trumpets. Sometimes other masked characters, such as animals, tourists, and cartoon characters accompany the parade.  Such masks are also worn at other celebrations, most prominently Carnival and the Asunción (“Assumption,” referring to Jesus’ mother Mary passing into Heaven), held on August 15th.

:

TITLE: Moor (Calavera) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Moro (Moor) Mask in the form of a Calavera con Serpientes (Skull with Snakes)
MAKER: Rafael Mesa Oliva (1978- , Naolinco de Victoria)
CEREMONY: Fiesta de San Mateo (Danza de los Pilatos)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: equimite wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; lacquer; string

The Danza de los Pilatos, also called La Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians), 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. In Naolinco, Veracruz, the dance is performed on the holiday of the town patron saint, St. Matthew (Fiesta de San Mateo), celebrated on Sept. 20-21 every year.  There, Moors take many forms, including devils, pirates, clowns, or, as here, skeletons. This mask represents a Moor in the form of a skeleton (calavera), with terrifying decorations.

For more on masks from Veracruz, see Bryan J. Stevens, Mexican Masks and Puppets: Master Carvers of the Sierra de Puebla (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Pub’g, 2012).


A brief video with highlights of the Danza de los Moros y Cristianos from Naolinco’s 2018 Fiesta de San Mateo.

:

TITLE: Rey de Moros
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Rey de Moros (King of the Moors)
MAKER: Antonio Vázquez Tepo (Xico, 1933-2017)
CEREMONY: Danza de los Moros y Cristianos
AGE: 2016
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.

:

TITLE: Horse Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Caballo (Horse) Mask
MAKER: Adalberto Anell, Teocelo (1929- )
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

This mask was made for use in Carnival in the small town of Teocelo, Veracruz. It was thinly carved from extremely light wood by an expert craftsman. During Carnival in Veracruz, celebrants prepare for the coming of Lent by feasting, music, masked parades, and dancing in the streets. This specific mask was sold before being used.

:

TITLE: Payaso Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Payaso (Clown)
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Santo Entierro de Cristo; Fiesta de la Asunción; Carnival
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

Santo Entierro de Cristo (“Sacred Burial of Christ”) is an important festival in parts of Veracruz, particularly in the region of Teocelo, and is celebrated on the last Sunday in January. During the festival, clowns wearing red-nosed masks, animals, devils, and other characters dance to drum and trumpet music along a parade route, clicking castanets, and accompanying an image of the burial of Jesus of Nazareth. The route proceeds from the local church to a large floral arch dubbed El Calvario, where mass is held. The procession is accompanied by drums and trumpets. Sometimes other masked characters, such as animals, tourists, and cartoon characters accompany the parade.  Such masks are also worn at other celebrations, most prominently Carnival and the Asunción (“Assumption,” referring to Jesus’ mother Mary passing into Heaven), held on August 15th.

:

TITLE: Santiago Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Santiago (Saint) Mask
MAKER: Lino Mora Rivera, Naolinco (1956- )
CEREMONY: Fiesta de San Mateo (Danza de los Pilatos)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: equimite wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; lacquer; string

The Danza de los Pilatos, also called La Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians), 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. In Naolinco, Veracruz, the dance is performed on the holiday of the town patron saint, St. Matthew (Fiesta de San Mateo), celebrated on Sept. 20-21 every year.  There, Moors take many forms, including devils, pirates, clowns, or, as here, skeletons. This mask represents a santiago, also called a santiaguero, who is a warrior-disciple of St. James. The santiagos fight the Moors with wooden swords and small shields.

For more on masks from Veracruz, see Bryan J. Stevens, Mexican Masks and Puppets: Master Carvers of the Sierra de Puebla (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Pub’g, 2012).


A brief video with highlights of the Danza de los Moros y Cristianos from Naolinco’s 2018 Fiesta de San Mateo.

:

TITLE: Moor (Calavera-Cobra) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Moro (Moor) Mask in the form of a Cobra-Headed Calavera (Skull)
MAKER: Lino Mora Rivera, Naolinco (1956- )
CEREMONY: Fiesta de San Mateo (Danza de los Pilatos)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: equimite wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; lacquer; string

The Danza de los Pilatos, also called La Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians), 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. In Naolinco, Veracruz, the dance is performed on the holiday of the town patron saint, St. Matthew (Fiesta de San Mateo), celebrated on Sept. 20-21 every year.  There, Moors take many forms, including devils, pirates, clowns, or, as here, skeletons. This mask represents a Moor in the form of a skeleton (calavera), with its face emerging from a menacing cobra. It was carved by the master craftsman, Lino Mora Rivera.

For more on masks from Veracruz, see Bryan J. Stevens, Mexican Masks and Puppets: Master Carvers of the Sierra de Puebla (Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Pub’g, 2012).


A brief video with highlights of the Danza de los Moros y Cristianos from Naolinco’s 2018 Fiesta de San Mateo.

:

TITLE: Payaso Mask
TYPE: face mask; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Payaso (Clown)
MAKER: Rey Tepo (Xico, 1972- )
CEREMONY: Santo Entierro de Cristo; Fiesta de la Asunción; Carnival
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

Santo Entierro de Cristo (“Sacred Burial of Christ”) is an important festival in parts of Veracruz, particularly in the region of Teocelo, and is celebrated on the last Sunday in January. During the festival, clowns wearing red-nosed masks, animals, devils, and other characters dance to drum and trumpet music along a parade route, clicking castanets, and accompanying an image of the burial of Jesus of Nazareth. The route proceeds from the local church to a large floral arch dubbed El Calvario, where mass is held. The procession is accompanied by drums and trumpets. Sometimes other masked characters, such as animals, tourists, and cartoon characters accompany the parade.  Such masks are also worn at other celebrations, most prominently Carnival and the Asunción (“Assumption,” referring to Jesus’ mother Mary passing into Heaven), held on August 15th.

:

TITLE: Español Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Español (Spaniard) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Danza de la Conquista
AGE: 1940s-1950s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Danza de la Conquista (Dance of the Conquest) in Mexico can refer either to the conquest of the Aztecs by the Spaniards or to the conquest (properly, reconquest) of Spain from the Saracens by the European Christians. This mask is used for reenacting the latter conquest, which is frequently and more correctly called the Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians). The latter 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 (like this one), Moors, saints, angels, and devils.

:

TITLE: Azteca Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Veracruz
ETHNICITY: Nahua
DESCRIPTION: Azteca
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Danza de la Conquista; Carnival
AGE: ca. 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; plant fiber

The Danza de la Conquista, or Dance of the Conquest, is a traditional celebration in many parts of Mexico.  The dance takes two forms. One retells the conquest of Spain by the Spanish monarchy from the Moors, finally achieved in 1492 and properly called the Reconquista. The other retells the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. This mask belongs to the second story. It represents a Spaniard coming into contact with his Aztec enemy.  The Azteca mask is also worn during Carnival.

: