A Few More Highland Rio Mayo Pascola Masks

Today I will present three more masks that were carved by Luciano Valenzuela. These had been collected by Barney Burns and Mahina Drees, and Mahina permitted me to photograph their collection in 2016. I show you these masks because they are carved so much like those in last weeks post, but then extensive wear and alterations by dancers or others have caused two of them to look quite different, with embellishments that the carver had in effect omitted, from a cultural perspective.

This first mask was collected in Sonora at an unknown date.

Some one added carved scorpions to the cheeks.

A simple rim design has been added, along with a star on the forehead.


The back reveals only mild staining from use, however this is difficult to see because of color variations in the wood.

The next mask has a shocking color, but by now we know that this shade was probably the carver’s contribution to the design, while various additional vivid elements were added by others. It was collected in Sonora in 1990.

These added elements include circles on the cheeks, painted lines around the eyes, and a rim design.

Here are other elements that were added after the mask went into use.

The person who made these additions went to some trouble, carving lines and drilling dots.


There is moderate staining from use.

The third mask from this set has not been enhanced, and looks like a worn version of the masks we looked at last week. It was collected in 2004 after an unknown period of use.

This mask has an extended tongue that has been painted yellow.

There is no rim design at all.

We find the expected forehead cross, flanked by hair bundles held in place with pegs.

The back is darkly stained from extended use.

Next week We will move on to Mayo Pascola masks from Sinaloa.

Bryan Stevens

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