Mexican Dance Mask | Moon and Rabbit Human Face
- Vintage item
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A beautifully carved Mexican mask with a fascinating blend of motifs, this folk art piece was probably made in Guerrero or Michoacán. Made of wood, the human face has huge expressive eyes and a deep red mouth. The fantastic nose is a crescent moon, with a face on it identical to that of the mask itself. The black beard is actually a rabbit, with the eyes and ears curving up each side of the chin. The combination of human and animals carries on the legend of the nahual (shapeshifter), a creature who can transform from a human being into an animal (or the reverse). The overall effect of the mask is quite spectacular.
There are two holes on the forehead to enable the mask to be tied onto the head and hung up when not in use. It is sized to fit over the face, measuring 8 1/2 inches top to bottom and 6 inches across the widest part. The mask projects out 6 1/2 inches to the tip of one of the moon's points and weighs 1/2 pound. Just above each eye on the mask, the mask maker cut a curved slit so the wearer can see out (albeit pretty poorly). The back is plain, dark, slightly rough wood. It's in good condition, with many chips to the paint, revealing the first coat of white paint in spots, but no cracks or broken pieces. Since carved masks have been made in Mexico for thousands of years and are still being made for both ceremonial dances and as decorative items for sale, it is difficult to date this one except to say that it definitely has not been made recently. It is a handsome collector's item that can be displayed propped up, on a stand or hung on the wall.
>>>The Tavo Silveira pot from Mata Ortiz shown in our photograph is available here: