Unusual Mexican bird mask




Q: Looking through your older posts, I saw an unknown mask (Nov. 2013) which resembles one I have. Mine has a bird on the front. Very light wood. Bought with another one at a flea market. It has a tag inside which has the following: S. Pedro Teozacoalco. dist. Zaaohila. Mexico. It also has the following (which I translated using google translations): “The godmother of the bride (or groom) mask. Used during the blessing ceremony.” Any thoughts on its age, or what the inscription S. Pedro Teozacoalco means? Mickey, 855

A: I asked Bryan Stevens, the most knowledgeable collector of Mexican masks I know, about this. He said… San Pedro Teozocoalco is a real town in the Mixteca Alta, the traditional highland Mixtec area of Oaxaca. The mask very strange, does it depict a Turkey Vulture? The label says it was worn by a godmother or protectress character, in the context of a romance and a blessing durung a ceremony (marriage?). There is a description of such a dance in a Mxteca Alta town, in Esser’s book, Behind the Mask in Mexico, in a chapter by Betty Ann Brown, pp 254-255, Beauty and the Beast. So I suppose that the mask could be real, but this is more a guess than a statement of certainty. My friend Barbara, from Santa Fe, is dubious about masks like this, based on past observation. She will further investigate.

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