Guatemalan mystery mask

Q: I saw this fabulous mask on the internet and was told only that it was from Guatemala. I’d never seen anything like it. So I sent the picture to Jean, the famous Guatemalan expert, thinking it might be a rare, authentic Diablo. Here is what he had to say…

A: It could be a devil from Alta Verapaz, which has lost its horns (usually 3 horns – middle horn fixed on the top, reason for the large hole). Could be softwood, considering worms holes.

As said, the mouth makes me think to Alwasiir (Baja Verapaz) or Murcielago (Alta Verapaz), but these have a rather constant design: they are always totally green, and without horns (the performer wears a crown with the horns, distinct fron the mask itself). But there are a lot of other fantastic Diablos in the area of Cobán (Alta Verapaz), with vivid colours and multiple horns, I think it is part of them. Jean, 1737

Don’t be afraid to comment. Jean and I are both capable of making mistakes.


  • Jean

    Hi Bob,

    I must add that before answering your question, I asked the opinion of Joel E. Brown, a much greater expert in Guatemalan masquerade and traditional dances than I, who confirmed this possible identification.

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