Vintage Jaguar Mask
Ht. 13" x W. 8" x D. 7"
This style of Tigre (Mexican colloquial for Jaguar) mask is from Zitlala, Guerrero. The masks are used in a dance on the feast day of the Holy Cross on May 3rd, 4th, and 5th, a holiday that is thoroughly mixed with the indigenous dance to the rain god Tlaloc. As part of the activities, men from different barrios put on jaguar costumes and carry out fierce fighting competitions that involve beating each other over the head with knotted rope. The fighting is considered a crucial aspect in petitioning the deities for rain during the spring planting season. The impressive masks are made in leather and worn over the head to protect the wearer from injury. The leather is painted green or yellow, depending on which barrio of town the participant is from.