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Nahua mask

Nahua mask
ca. 1950
Guerrero State, Mexico
Wood, pigment, glass, wild boar whiskers, animal teeth, canvas
37 x 41 x 23 cm
Gift of Richard H. White

This mask is made of wood carved to represent a tiger’s or jaguar’s head with an outstretched tongue, folded ears, two sets of teeth, and whiskers. The front of the mask is painted yellow, green, red, black, and white. Glass covers both eyes. The nose, carved in the shape of a pig’s snout, is typical of tigre masks from Guerrero. The tongue and ears are made of painted canvas or rubber and were nailed to the wood. The whiskers are probably wild boar bristles. The teeth are also probably from a wild boar.

Tigre masks were worn in the Dance of the Tiger performed throughout Mexico to protect crops, field workers, and domestic animals from feline predators. During the dance, the tigre is chased, and eventually caught and killed.

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