Q: Here is a nice example of the “Torito” mask from Rabinal, Baja Verapaz, Guatemala. The presence of the scorpion between the horns is frequent, but the design of this one is of exceptional quality. Old repairs can be well seen on the back. Leather ears. From the 50-60s. Jean, 1450
A: You have sent beautiful photos of one of the better Guatemalan toritos I have seen… at least in quite awhile. Years ago there were morerias that made masks, usually of Spanish characters, that could have been carved by Michelangelo. This high degree of excellence applied to other mask characters as well. The quality of carving in Guatemala has been slowly going downhill since the 1950’s. If you enlarge these photos you can see the quality I’m talking about. There’s no sign of artificial aging, and the carving and painting is very professional.
Here is what the excellent website MexicanDanceMasks said. “Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas have some dances and dance characters in common, probably due to their shared history. More broadly, some of the dances of Guatemala are found in many of the Mexican states. These include the dances of the Moros y Cristianos, the Conquest, and dances with characters dressed as Toritos (bulls). In the Patzcar Dance there is a small Torito masks that appear in that performance. ” A
The “toritos” of the Patzcar Dance in Nahuala are significantly different from the toritos used in the Dance of the Conquest or other, in Rabinal (like the present one) or elsewhere. In Nahuala, they are much smaller, with ribbons and a big bell between the horns.