Last week I introduced the Tastoanes dance and showed traditional leather Tastoanes masks. Today I will share wooden masks for this dance from the Mexican states of Jalisco and Zacatecas. The main point of this week’s post and the last is to demonstrate the wide variation in the styles of masks used for this dance. They can be made of leather or wood. Some of them have horns, as if they are diablo masks; unlike diablos, they have attached wigs and they are not necessarily painted black. One in today’s post even has a cross painted on the face. On the other hand, a leather mask in last week’s post was painted black, had horns, and could probably have danced as a diablo or in the Tastoanes dance.
I will begin with a wooden Tastoanes mask that was found in 1989 in Guadalajara, in the Mexican state of Jalisco. It has an attached wig, of sisal.
The wooden face of this mask is 10 inches tall, 6 inches wide (but 22 inches between the tips of the horns), and 9 inches deep, not counting the leather tongue or the headdress/wig.
This Tastoane mask is decorated with snakes and bugs.
There are also stars.
The back of the wooden mask from Jalisco shows normal staining from use.
Next you will see six or seven wooden masks from Zacatecas. The first of these is very large. I bought it from the Dewey Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The place of collection was a secret that has yet to be revealed; I have attributed it to Zacatecas on the basis of its style. Instead of a wig it has an attached hat. This is the Tastoanes mask with a cross on the face.
The wooden face of this mask is 14 inches tall, 8 inches wide (18 inches between the tips of the horns), and 9½ inches deep, not counting the cloth tongue or the hat.
Pieces of glass have been fitted into the openings for vision.
The next is much smaller, but equally interesting. I obtained it from Jaled Muyaes in 1997; it came from Moreno de Zacatecas, in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, Mexico. It too has a wig of sisal.
The wooden face of this mask is 10 inches tall, 7 inches wide (6inches between the tips of the horns), and 4 inches deep, not counting the cloth tongue or the headdress/wig.
The back of this mask is darkly stained from use. The number (415) tells us that this mask was one from the collection of Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazon that appeared in the 1981 UNAM mask show in Mexico City.
I will continue with four Tastoanes masks from Zacatecas in another style. The first is particularly well carved. It came from the collection of Robert Lauter.
The wooden face of this mask is 8 inches tall, 5½ inches wide, and 3½ inches deep, not counting the mustache.
The back of this mask shows staining from heavy use.
Although I collected this next mask from Mary Jane Gagnier de Mendoza (Mano Mágica gallery) in the city of Oaxaca) and the one that follows from Robin and Barbara Cleaver of Santa Fe, New Mexico, I feel certain that both were initially collected together by Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazon in the 1970s or earlier. They are clearly by the same hand.
The wooden face of this mask is 9 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, not counting the mustache.
Nails on the face of the mask must have secured previous hair or hide attachments.
The grain of the wood and the carving style are virtually identical for this mask and the next.
This next mask was stained instead of painted.
The wooden face of this mask is 8 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, not counting the mustache.
This mask, like the last, has a nail on the chin.
The back of this mask is almost identical to that of the previous Tastoane mask (black with mustache).
The last mask in this group was originally painted red; also it has lost its mustache, although the nail holes for its attachment are still visible. There is glitter on the forehead and chin. The nose has been somehow recarved. It was found in Zacatecas by Dinah Gaston in 2008.
This mask is 9 inches tall, 5½ inches wide, and 4 inches deep.
This quartet of Tastoanes masks all have frowning mouths.
The last mask in this series came without any provenance. It is within the same size range as the last four and it has a similar mouth. It was originally pink and then it was repainted with a black face. As one can see from the last four masks, black and pink are both typical colors for Tastoanes masks. In its general style, this mask resembles two Tastoanes masks from Juchipila, Zacatecas in La Tierra y El Paraíso (1993, pages 138 and 145, items o37 and 068). I have concluded that this mask is also a Tastoanes mask from Juchipila. Whether this is correct or not, I am presenting it as an unusually beautiful mask. As is always the case, if you know something that would be of interest about this mask or any mask on this site, I would be delighted to hear from you.
If you viewed the video about the making of leather Tastoanes masks in last week’s post, then you may recall seeing that artist cut the holes for vision in this shape. The mouth on this mask is quite similar to that on the red mask in the last group.
This mask is 9½ inches tall, 7 inches wide, and 3½ inches deep.
This mask is old and worn.
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing these masks. Next week I will discuss masks used during Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Michoacán.