Three Red Moro Masks From Guerrero

Today I want to show you three red Moro masks from Guerrero that I purchased as a group from René Bustamante in 1994. The first was said to be from Atliaca, while the other two had no documentation of town of origin. Strangely, there are many dances being performed in Atliaca currently, most of the dancers wear elaborate costumes, but very few wear masks. This appears to be a town where mask use has fallen away. René estimated that these masks dated to the mid-20th century, nearly 70 years ago.

This is a wonderful mask, carved in a vivid abstract design. The eyes are constructed from recycled mirror glass.

The fangs appear to have been made from matchsticks. This mask is 10 inches tall, 7 inches wide, and 4½ inches deep.

The wear on the back of this mask is extreme.

The second mask appears to be by the same hand as the first, it has many of the same elements, and yet it looks quite different.

These eyes too were made from recycled mirror glass.

In this photo the line of the nose is reflected in the left eye, but in general these mirror eyes are intended to reflect sunlight back at the viewer. This mask is 10 inches tall, 6½ inches wide, and 5 inches deep.

The back of the second mask looks nearly as old as the first.

The third mask looks generally like the other two, yet it is dramatically different in the details.

These eyes were carved in relief rather than constructed from mirror glass. This mask carries relief carved facial wrinkles to a new extreme.

The ears are well carved; the other two masks don’t have ears. This mask is 10 inches tall, 7 inches wide, and 5½ inches deep.

The back of this mask is glazed by some coating.

Next week will be my last post about Moro masks from Guerrero.

Bryan Stevens



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