The big bearded Mexican

Q:  Hello and thank you for making contact available. Attached are three images of a mask that I have had for many decades. I bought it as a Spanish Barbone and know little else about it except that it is old and wonderful. Your perspective would be appreciated.  Andrea,1120

A:  The Barbone has been a popular tourist mask in Mexico for many years. And why not? That big, stylish beard is absolutely gorgeous. It has also been a subject of controversy. Some time ago these masks were thought to be historically important artifacts worth lots of money. Now we know they came from a workshop in Guerrero and were intended for sale, not usage. You should be able to purchase them for a fair price nowadays. If you want to know more, read the chapter called “Mask Making in Guerrero” in Behind the Mask in Mexico by Janet Brody Esser. Incidentally, this is my favorite book on Mexican masks.  B


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