Mexican Child’s Mask M900

5″ x 5″ x 4″

Masks depicting Afro-Mexicans

A number of dances in several parts of Mexico include or feature masks imitating African or black faces. These have their origins with the importation of African slaves by the Spanish. These slaves had contact with the indigenous peoples, often as intermediaries between them and the Spanish overlords. This experience was incorporated in indigenous dances, with the dancers called “negritos” (little black ones). Negrito masks vary by region. Those from the Costa Chica region of Oaxaca and Guerrero have realistic or exaggerated Negroid features, and other from the Sierra de Juarez of Oaxaca are more primitive with small tusks protruding from the mouth. Those from Michoacán have fine features and a gentle expression. Sheepskin is often added to suggest hair. The masks are worn as part of a costume which usually has the dancer elegantly dressed, with colorful fabrics and headdresses. In the colonial period, blacks had a wide range of occupations so this was portrayed in dances. Although most of the Africans intermarried with the rest of the population, the masks remain.

Price on request.