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.

As with the Javelina mask in last week’s post, vision openings replace the eyes on this one and these are veiled with window screen inserts. This is quite a magnificent face, isn’t it?

The overlapping flaps are not so obvious on this mask, because the hair is in much better condition than that on last week’s examples.

Tom Kolaz was told that this mask was worn during at least one Fiesta before it was sold to him. There is mild staining from use. This wooden mask is 11 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 6 inches deep. The fur cowl rises no higher than the top edge of the wooden mask.


I had already bought two other Judio masks with mask like inserts from Tom Kolaz. I obtained this one in October 2007. There are numerous indications on the hat that this figure apparently portrays a member of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Ironically, that infamous gang was just in the news last week.

This is a very effective mask, isn’t it?

The hair of this mask is constructed from imitation fur. There is a drawing of a marijuana leaf on the front of the hat.

On the right side of the crown of the hat there is a drawing of a sub-machine gun and underneath this the word Sinaloa.

We find more of the same on the left side of the hat.

On the back of the hat is the word “Pirata.”

The underside of the fake fur reveals its woven nature.

The back of this mask is more heavily stained than that of the Apache mask. This wooden mask is 9 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 5 inches deep.

The third mask, which I purchased in November 2007, combines an equally dramatic wooden mask with a cowl that was constructed from a remnant of cotton cloth.

This worn old mask has lost half of the mustache and the screen from one eye.

The cloth cowl makes this mask look an old woman with a head scarf.

This wooden mask is 8½ inches tall, 5½ inches wide, and 6 inches deep.

The back of this mask is worn and soiled from repeated use.

Next week I will conclude this series of posts about Mayo masks by examining two decorated Drums that were used by Mayo Judio dancers.

Bryan Stevens


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