Guatemala

Patzcar mask from central Guatemala

Q: I just received this mask and would like to find out the country of origin. It is painted carved wood and comes from a design shop in San Francisco which is closed right now due to the pandemic. I believe it is newish–looks that way. Originally (in the shop) it was priced at $350. It has a level of refinement that doesn’t really show in the photo. I’m thinking it is from either Spain or Mexico but am uncertain. Scotty, 1704

A: Your mask comes from the mountainous area of Baja Verapaz in the center of this small country south of Mexico. Patzcar is an old dance drama that is still popular in the region. The mask may be old (probably re-painted), but I can’t be sure. A?

3 Comments

  • jean

    Indeed, a typical Patrón from the Patzcar dance in the province of Sololá, Guatemala. Usually they are white, this brown color is a repaint. Considering the quality of the carving, it could be somewhat old but the back appears to have been artificially darkened making impossible to see the original patina. In this case, the question is still the same: why to darkened the back if not to make it older than real…

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