Aaron often sends photos of masks he has purchased recently. This one is by a famous mask masker who lives in Veracruz, Mexico. His masks are worn by dancers in the area and are sold in shops and galleries. His masks are always distinctive, with faces that often remind me of the Grim Reaper. Step into the dark side and buy one of his masks for your collection. Lino’s masks are usually quite affordable.
Here is what Aaron writes. As you can see, he does a great job.
TITLE: Calavera Cobra
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Cobra-Headed Calavera
MAKER: Lino Mora Rivera, Naolinco (1956- )
CEREMONY: Danza de los Moros y Cristianos
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; lacquer
The Danza de los Moros y Cristianos (Dance of the Moors and Christians), also known as the Danza de la Conquista, is an important celebration in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The dance reenacts the reconquest Spain from the Saracens by the European Christians. The dance arose from the teachings of missionaries as part of an effort to instill respect for and fear of the Spaniards in the indigenous peoples, and to convince them that the victory of Christianity over other faiths—by violence whenever necessary—was inevitable.
The dance is still performed widely in Mexico, including in Mexico State, Michoacán, Puebla, and Veracruz. Characters vary depending on locality, although they always include “Christians” or “Spaniards” and Moors. This mask, now common in Naolinco, represents a skeleton (calavera), with the addition of its face emerging from a menacing cobra. It was carved by the master craftsman, Lino Mora Rivera. A