Most traditional masks from this little Central American country have four eye holes– two with glass eyeballs staring out of them, and the other two for the dancer to look out of. These masks also appear to have been carved by artists trained in the academic style of the Spanish Renaissance.
The folk art of Guatemala’s indigenous people dates back hundreds of years to the conquest and beyond. Some of their dances are rooted in traditions brought from Spanish religious celebrations. Then there are those of Mayan tradition where animal masks are often used in dances like “Toritos” (the Little Bulls), or “El Venado” (the Deer).
Some of the most well known dances are those re-enacting the conquest with masks representing conquistadors such as Cortez or Alvarado and religious stories with saints and devils. Doesn’t this one look like a Spanish masterpiece?
Usually these masks of great beauty are carved out of high-quality wood that can stand many years of repeated usage and repainting. Occasionally you can find old ones like this, but it will cost you $1000 or more!