When I was gathering together Moro masks from the State of Mexico, I was surprised to discover that there were all these Moors from Guerrero and Puebla that I had never shared with you. Today I have four more from Guerrero, and no two alike. The first of these is unusual because it is entirely black, except for white facial hair. I did include another black mask with the Archareos, two weeks ago , as those were all from Colotepec, Guerrero. I bought this one (and the next two) from René Bustamante in 1994. It was said to be from Atzacoaloya, Guerrero, but this mask does not show up in videos from that town or from the County Seat of Chilapa de Álvarez, so I don’t know where it fits in.
This is a dramatic and effective mask. It does have a Moor’s mouth, anxious or fearful. Maybe it was worn by a Moorish leader. We should recall that when the Spanish missionaries introduced the Dance of the Moors and Christians, so many centuries ago, the Indians of the Americas would have had no experience with Islamic peoples. They would only have known what the Spanish told them. In this context, we find that the Moorish Leaders in this dance are named for a variety of enemies of Christendom, including Mohammed and various Roman Emperors. But how should these be depicted? In traditional images of the Three Kings in the Christmas tradition, one of the kings is often depicted with dark skin; perhaps such exotic images contributed.