Sinaloa Judios Masks III

Today we will examine three Sinaloa Judio masks that demonstrate the evolution of these masks to ones that have larger wooden faces than the traditional masks and with more graphic and dramatic features. Large mask-like faces have replaced the much smaller face plates that were an earlier innovation, sixty years ago. When my friend Tom Kolaz first sent me photos of this mask in 2007,  I felt very skeptical about the whole concept, and I suspected that Sinaloa Mayo performers were importing masks from other states in Mexico to enhance their Judio masks. At that time there were not yet YouTube™ videos available of these dances. But then Tom sent me a photo of a Mayo man who claimed to be the carver, and he was holding this mask before it had been combined with a fur cowl to form a Judio mask. That carver’s name was Cesar Velasquez. He sold the mask to Tom after it had been danced, and I purchased it in September 2008.

This mask appears to represent an American Plains Indian, perhaps an Apache. In the recently available YouTube™ videos included in my last two posts, you may have noticed that such Apache type Judio masks have become popular during Semana Santa performances, along with many other formerly unusual types such as Diablos.

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Sinaloa Judios Masks II

Today we will examine three Judio masks that were collected by a Tucson tourist/collector at the conclusion of the Easter 1995 fiesta in Jahaura, Sinaloa,  a Mayo village that is about 10 miles east of the Rio Fuerte,   I obtained them 10 years later.

The first  of these masks is another that seems transitional (like the final mask in last week’s post), a face plate mask that has the vision slits of a traditional Mexican mask, rather than the screen covered vision openings that are more traditional, but yet another example of the female face plate masks that we saw in last week’s post; we have them to compare to this one.

This would seem to be a Caucasian face.

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Judios Used During Semana Santa in Sinaloa

During Semana Santa (Holy week, the week ending on Easter Sunday), the Yoeme (Yaqui), Yoreme (Mayo), and Cora Indians perform dance dramas that depict the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. In Sinaloa Mayo towns, there are masked Judios who portray “Soldiers of Rome;” in such portrayals, they persecute Jesus and then repent after his resurrection. The Yaquis believe that the masks of these dance figures collect the evil that has accumulated in the village over the past year, and so their masks are most definitely burned on Holy Saturday to dissipate this evil. The Mayo Indians usually burn these masks, but sometimes they sell them to collectors instead, and the Cora performers routinely sell their masks to attending collectors. Traditionally the Mayo Judio masks were made entirely of goat-skin, but by the 1960s  the Mayo Indians of Sinaloa had begun to construct their Judio masks with wooden face plates that are attached to goatskin cowls. James Griffith wrote about this innovation in a KIVA article—”Mochicahui Judio Masks: A Type of Mayo Fariseo Mask From Northern Sinaloa, Mexico” (Kiva, Vol. 32, No. 4, April 1967, pp. 143-149).  Here is one of those face plates. I bought this one and the next from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazon of Mexico City, in 2001.

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