Xipe Totec Style Masks For The Xantolo Performance In The Huasteca: Part III

In this post I will conclude my review of Xantolo masks in the geometric or Xipe style. The masks in today’s sample fit this standard more loosely, yet they have elements of this type. Most have the layered mouth within a mouth design, while one simply has a mouth of that shape, but without the extra layer. The first three and the last have the characteristic inscribed geometric lines; two others lack that feature. Looking at these masks, side by side, one realizes how wide and varied is the area in Hidalgo and Veracruz where the Xantolos continue to dance.

The first of this group, which I purchased from the Cavin Morris Gallery in 1994, was found in Taxtitla, Municipio of Chalma, Veracruz.


The depiction of a mouth within a mouth is dramatic. All of the teeth are covered with cigarette package foil.


This mask is 6 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 3 inches deep.


The back edge is broken on the left side.

The next mask is small and worn. It is from Hueyitali, in the Municipio of Jaltocán, Hidalgo. I bought it from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón in 1997.


This is a vigorously carved little mask of the Xipe type. It has been crudely repainted. All of the teeth are covered with cigarette foil. It has a very slender nose.


This mask is 7¾ inches tall, 4½ inches wide, and 2¾ inches deep.


The wood has been hollowed out by an insect infestation. Somehow the mask survived.

The next mask is small but intact. It has typical decorative designs, but these were informally colored.


I got this mask from René Bustamante in 1993. It came without any specific provenance, but it is obviously from the Huasteca of Hidalgo.


This mask is 6 inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 2½ inches deep.


The back is old and worn.

The next mask is much larger, but it was also decorated in an informal style. The mouth resembles that of the mask in last week’s post that was painted in so many colors.


This mask was found in Xocatitla, Hidalgo, by Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón. I bought the mask from the Phoenix Gallery in Georgetown (District of Columbia), in 1995.


This mask is 9 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 3 inches deep.


The back is irregular, old, and worn.

The next mask looks very different from the others because of the prominence of the applied ears; those are attached with wooden pegs. The double mouth design is  subtle. The teeth are covered with gold and silver colored foil from cigarette packs.


I got this mask from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón, in 1998. The tag said Municipio of Platun, Hidalgo, but I have not been able to find such a place. It is certainly in the style of Hidalgo.


This mask is 7 inches tall, 9 inches wide, and 4 inches deep.


The back of this mask is old and worn.

The last mask in this group has scarring, along with the incised triangles in the upper corners, but the mouth is snouted. I bought it from Dinah Gaston in 2008. It was found in Zoquitipan, in the Municipio of Yahualica, Hidalgo.


This is an elegant mask. The incised lines on the lower half of the face seem highly abstract. From the front, the gaps between the teeth  are stylized and precise.


This mask is 8 inches tall, 5½ inches wide, and 3 inches deep.


This is another old mask. Seen from the back, the gaps between the teeth are much more sketchy.

Next week I will shift to a discussion of other Viejo or Xantolo masks, ones that do not conform to either the realistic or the Xipe styles. Instead they demonstrate great variety.

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