A beautifully carved Mexican mask, this folk art piece is from the state of Guerrero. Made of lightweight wood, the human face has blue eyes surrounded by top and bottom lashes, heavy exaggerated eyebrows and bright red cheeks--all classic characteristics of Guerrero masks. His feather headdress has individual red feathers tipped in white, secured with a red, white and black band over his forehead.
Each of his eyes is pierced by an irregularly shaped, gouged out hole to see through (narrowly). There is a hole on each side, just above the headband, for tying on the mask and one at the very top for hanging up when not in use. These holes are perfectly round, probably made with a hand drill. The mask is sized to fit over the face, measuring 11 inches top to bottom and 7 1/2 inches across the widest part. It projects out 4 inches to the tip of the nose (check out the blue painted nostrils) and weighs 7 ounces. The back is plain, dark, slightly rough wood.
This dance mask is in good condition, with chips to the projecting nose, which seem to happen to many painted masks, 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, placed on a stand or hung on the wall.