You can collect decoratives

Q:  This mask was acquired by my wife in Mexico City. I am having difficulties discerning it’s origins. She was told it was from Veracruz, but we are unsure.  David, 1796

A:  Masks with bean pod noses have been made for tourists in Mexico for probably 100 years. So have many other unusual masks. These undesireable masks are called decorativas in Spanish. When I started collecting Mexican masks in the 1980’s I was told to avoid decoratives. Only collect authentic masks– those that were danced in the villages.

I followed the rules for at least 10 years, but then began noticing how clever many of the decoratives could be. Often they were very well made… colorful… and funny. This shouldn’t have been a surprise, because they were usually made by the same mask makers who work for the villages. Why not enjoy decoratives as well as authentic Mexican masks… and make some money off the gringos!


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