In the last month or so a number of interesting masks were offered for sale on EBay™, and I saw some that I could not resist. One of these was another Moro Chino mask from Guerrero. I had shown two of those in my post of May 14, 2018.
There I had referred you to an excellent series of photos of Moros Chinos masks in Changing Faces: Mexican Masks in Transition (1985, edited by Lori Jacobson and Donald E. Fritz). The new arrival from EBay is identical in design to one of those masks (plate 5 on page 23) and almost exactly the same size. They are in the style used in Mochitlán, Guerrero, and surely by the same hand.
Then, as I was sorting out other masks from the Moros y Cristianos dance, I discovered four more of this style that I had forgotten that I had. So this week I have five more Moro Chino style masks to show you, beginning with the one from EBay.
This mask, like many, is a little crooked. The eyebrows and mustache elements are not only rectangular in shape, but also they are additionally stylized, with vertical grooves (a feature favored in Mochitlán).
The goatee is also dramatically styled. Another visually interesting feature is that the mustaches have uplifted ends where they meet the nose. This is more easily seen in the photo that follows. So this mask was made by another anonymous and unsung mask carver whose name I would love to discover and promote, as I did in my book about the masks of the Sierra de Puebla.
This mask is 7½ inches tall, 4½ inches wide, and 2½ inches deep.
This mask had been stained on the back, and the degree of wear must be estimated by the wearing away of this protective coating. Note the carefully beveled edges of the vision openings, to accommodate the dancer’s eyes.
The next mask, which I purchased from John Kania and Joe Ferrin of Santa Fe in 2008, is equally stylized, but in a different manner.
The eyebrows are shaped like brackets ([ ]). The mustaches are equally abstract.
There is a stylized chin, and the goatee is dainty from the side view.
This mask is 8 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 4½ inches deep- adult sized.
The back is markedly stained from use and there is an original strap.
The third of today’s masks is also elaborately stylized, and appears to be another example in the Mochitlan style, although by another carver. I bought this one on EBay, without provenance, in 2007.
There are all these massive jutting surfaces. The beard reminds me of the bow wave of an ocean liner!
In this case, the corrugations of the eyebrows and mustache are diagonal rather than vertical.
A dancer evidently thought that the brows and mustache should be equally dramatic on their horizontal surfaces, and added blue paint there.
The goatee is rather grand from below!
This mask is 9 inches tall, 7 inches wide, and 4½ inches deep.
This is another mask that was given a protective stain on the back, and then the stain has been worn by use.
The last two of these Moros Chinos style masks are from the community of Quechultenango, Guerrero, where they performed in the Danza de las Cueras. Here is a Youtube™ video from Quechultenango of the Cueras in 2015.
The first of these Cueras masks has stylized brows, mustache, and goatee. The second, which is obviously by the same hand, lacks these stylized brows and mustache, but is equally well carved. I bought this pair from the estate of my friend, Gary Collison, in 2008. He probably bought them in Mexico.
This mask has rectangular bars above and below the eyes, but then there is a conventional mustache over the mouth. The goatee is wonderfully dramatic, but not at all geometric in design. There is some damage on the nose and on the bar under the left eye, apparently from rough use. Otherwise the paint on the face has a nice patina. Note the Moorish frowning mouth.
This mask is 8½ inches tall, 6¼ inches wide, and 3 inches deep.
The back is heavily stained from use. The numbers on the backs apparently indicate the prices, in pesos
This is the Cueras mask that lacks rectangular features, although it is otherwise quite stylish.
This is a handsome mask. The frown is more subtle than on the other mask.
This mask is 8½ inches tall, 5¾ inches wide, and 3 inches deep.
The back is heavily stained from use.
Next week we will examine an old Juanegro mask that I found on EBay.