This wonderful Mexican mask features a bearded man with rosy cheeks and red eyes and blue earrings. The Bearded Man, or El Barbón, may come from the Dance of the Marquis, one of many dances originating in Colonial Spanish efforts to convert native Mexicans to Catholicism. It was created with enamel applied on top of a hand hammered Copper form. Copper because of its expense was generally not used after the 1940s and was replaced with tin. This is an actual early 20th century festival mask and not a reproduction. The oxidation present, wear and minor pitting only add to the quality of this mask while the colors remain vibrant and the artists skill very apparent. This mask is an extremely fine example of this uncommon type of festival mask. It measures 16" tall approximately 12" wide and up to 3" in relief. It is priced at $385.
These hammered copper masks were created in Altamirano and La Parota in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero. Long a center of mask making - A rich Mexican tradition since at least 1200 BCE, these Mexican masks reflect a fusion of cultural and religious practices, resulting in an extremely rich, complex and evocative art form. Traditionally, wearers of the masks believed the face was directly related to the soul. Covering the face with a mask was like temporarily replacing the identity and soul of the mask wearer with the identity and soul intended to be represented by the mask.