This is a small hand carved wood Torito (Bull) mask from Guatemala. Most likely carved from pinewood and hand painted, it has a bell and traditional belting across the top of the mask. This mask is associated with the Patzcar dance that is performed in the area of Nahuala, Guatemala. The Baile del Patzcar (Plantation Boss’s Dance) is the oldest Guatemalan dance still practiced today and evolved from a Mayan purification ritual. In it, a dancer representing a female known as Lola performs a Mayan ritual using a white handkerchief to heal other masqueraders wearing rags and disease masks with gigantic thyroid goiters. Then gracejos representing ranch hands and carrying whips dance, comically whipping each other in mock fight over the love of the boss’s wife (Patzcarina). In the dance the plantation boss fights a bull, thus the use of this mask by one of the dancers.
Austin Friends of Folk Art