Red Xantolo Masks From The Huasteca

This week we will examine Xantolo masks from Hidalgo and Veracruz that are painted red.

The first has a refined design. Were it painted another color, I might think that it was a mask from the Juanegros dance. I bought this mask from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón in 1999.


This is an attractive mask that is simply carved. Neither the hairline, the mustache, or the goatee are carved in relief; they are simply painted.


This mask is 9¼inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 3½inches deep.


The back seems worn, but it has been scrubbed, so that it does not demonstrate the expected pattern of staining. The top edge was broken, long ago.

While the last mask was long and thin, the next is unusually round. This mask also came from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón, in 1998.


This mask makes the dancer appear to have a bloated or swollen face.


This mask is 9¼ inches tall, 7½ inches wide, and 2½ inches deep.


The back is old and worn.

The mouth of the next mask makes it look like the Xipe masks. I got this mask from René Bustamante in 1994. It was said to be from El Nante, Hidalgo, which would make it an Otomí mask, but it looks a lot like the Xipe Totec masks so I think that it started out somewhere else in Hidalgo.


This is another mask that is simply carved but effective.


This mask is 8 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 2¾ inches deep.


This mask has had only mild to moderate use.

The next mask is painted a darker shade of red than usual and the eyes are painted in an interesting way. This is yet another Xantolo mask that I bought from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón in 1999.


The numerous small teeth make this mask look particularly malevolent.


This mask is 8½ inches tall, 6¼ inches wide, and 3½ inches deep.


The back is worn.

I got this next mask from Jaled and Estela in 1997. It is from San Miguel, Veracruz.


On this mask, the hair, the eyes, and the mustache are all carved in relief, then cigarette package foil has been applied to the eyes, mustache, and the corners of the mouth. The hairline is unusually ornate.


This mask is 7¾ inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 3¼ inches deep.


The back is dark from use and one corner has long been broken.

The next red Xantolo mask is deceptively simple in appearance from the front, but look at its wonderful lines in profile, below.


This mask has such a beautiful nose. A patch of leather was nailed to the chin to create the appearance of a goatee.


This mask is 7¼ inches tall, 6 inches wide, and 4¼ inches deep.


The back shows marked wear.

I purchased the next Xantolo mask from Robin and Barbara Cleaver in 1994. It had originally been collected by Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón.


This Xantolo mask is unusual because it has artfully carved ears and the teeth are also finely carved.


This mask is 8¾ inches tall, 6½ inches wide, and 3¼ inches deep.


The back reveals yet another old number from the 1981 show in Mexico City. The staining from use is obvious and remarkable.

Once again I find myself saying that another mask is unusual. But there it is, these Xantolo masks are remarkable in their variety and strangeness. I got this one from Jaled and Estela in 1998 and it is really strange and wonderful. It is from Hidalgo.


The lips are unpainted. The mask has a high, slanted forehead.



The paint is unusual, in that the face is dark pink but there is white paint along the upper part of the nose. There are rudimentary relief-carved ears.


This mask is 10 inches tall, 5½ inches wide, and 3½ inches deep.


The staining  on the back is in the the moderate range.

I got this next mask from Jaled Muyaes and Estela Ogazón in 1999.


This is an usual mask because it depicts a man wearing a cap. The brim of the cap was carved from the same block of wood as the rest of the mask.


This mask is 6½ inches tall, 5¼ inches wide, and 3 inches deep.


The back shows moderate wear. The handwritten pencil inscription on the back identifies this as a Chantolo (Xantolo), from Conteres, Municipio of San Cristobal, Veracruz.

This last example is yet another that I obtained from Jaled and Estela, this one in 2000. It is from Humotitla, Hidalgo.


This mask could have been in the group I presented last week, since it has a green beard. It has scarification on the forehead like the Xipe style masks. The teeth were once painted silver.


This mask is 7 inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 2½ inches deep.


There is a broken area at the chin. The staining on the back is moderate. Pink paint inside the eyes makes me think that the face of this mask was once also painted that color.

Next week we will continue to look at a variety of human faced Xantolo masks.







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