These amazing bird masks were purchased at an art fair in Chiapas. But, you’re thinking, these don’t look like Mexican masks. They look more Central American. And, guess what? You’re right. There is a mask maker from Costa Rica living in Chiapas making these incredible, one-of-a-kind pieces. They use a weaving technique more commonly seen in baskets. The color combinations, the design of the heads, those incredible beaks…all created by an artisan with a beautiful vision. These are unusual and would make a fantastic collection. They are available in the Zinnia Folk Arts online shop or click on the photo to take you there.
The Dance of the Huehues (old men) in Tlaxcala, Mexico is one with magnificent masks and hats. It derives from the 1500’s when the indigenous people of Mexico perceived the dress and actions of the Spanish conquistadors to be silly and loved to make fun of their square dances and other activities. These two wall masks (above) come from Tlaxcala and are meant for display and not dancing!
The above photo is taken from an article in the SantaFeNewMexican.com about an upcoming festival that celebrates the vibrant culture of Mexico. Enjoy!
Masks have been an important part of the dances and ceremonies of Mexico for hundreds of years. Barbara Mauldin’s book Masks of Mexico is devoted to the mask culture of various regions of the great country of Mexico. She beautifully explains the dances that some masks are connected to and the Indian beliefs that underlie the ritual dance and the mask-wearing. And the photos are wonderful. Ms. Mauldin is a curator at the International Museum of Folk Art and has access to their fabulous collection of masks.
These photos are not masks that would be used for dancing except the first one. And that one was probably for a child. Most of these masks are quite small and are meant for display only. Some are paper mache, some are wood, some are leather.
Some of these masks have been sold but some are for sale right here.
These whimsical masks are handmade in Guerrero, Mexico from coconuts! Yes, the coconut is cut in half, hollowed out, various organic materials like seed pods, cones, and fibers are attached. Then the whole thing is painted in bright glossy colors. How about one of these joyful faces for your wall?
I’ve been collecting these for a long time and our bathroom has several grouped together in a smiling chorus.
Enjoy! Available right here
There is a very small, remote, dirt-streets town located in the western edge of Michoacan, named Ocumicho. In this little town are the most amazing folk artisans. Their style is recognizable anywhere. Their view of the world is filled with impish devils, fish-eyed persons, comical animals and weirdly shaped whistles and clay figures of all types. The range of objects goes from individual bird shaped whistles to gigantic clay scenes of the Last Supper with mermaids, a hospital operating room, children playing on playgrounds or just about any possible configuration. As is true of many folk arts in Mexico, almost the entire town participates in making figures and vignettes of low fired clay.
The above image is from Teyacapan’s photostream on Flickr.
Some artisans have branched out into wood carved masks.
If you are anywhere near Zamora, Michoacan, on your next trip to Mexico, it’s definitely worth the trip!
These very small masks were carved in a small town outside of Oaxaca by the Xuana family. They are carved by the men and painted by the women. They are tiny–about 3.5″ tall– and the level of carving, and then painting is really stunning. The color combinations and exquisite detail make these a perfect addition to your mask collection or if you don’t collect masks, but just like to look at cool things occasionally, this might be the way to go. There are 5 of them at GUILD right now, this blue one, two grey, one red and one yellow and they are all different animals. They are $55 each. Super awesome.
If you’re interested in which masks we have for sale on line, click here!