Guatemala

Repro of Patron mask from Guatemala

 

Q:  I recently bought this mask and I would like to know if it’s authentic or if you would know anything more about it. The seller said it was a dance mask from Chichicastenango, Guatemala from the 1950s-1960s. The mask measures roughly 7” in length and 5” in width. Any help would be appreciated. Daniel, 1265

 

A:  Here’s what Aaron has to say about a similar mask that is authentic. This is one is not, but it certainly looks like the real thing. B

SUBREGION: Nahualá
ETHNICITY: Mayan
DESCRIPTION: Patrón Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Danza del Patzcar
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; leather

The Danza del Patzcar is one of the oldest Guatemalan dances still practiced today. In it a dancer representing a female known as Lola performs a Mayan ritual using a white handkerchief to heal other masqueraders wearing rags and disease masks with gigantic thyroid goiters. The patrón (plantation boss) character, represented by this mask, also has a wife character (patrona or patzcarina).

For more on Guatemalan masks, see Jim Pieper, Guatemala’s Masks and Drama(University of New Mexico Press, 2006).

 

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