DESCRIPTION: A colorful, expressive Mexican folk art mask of a yellow jaguar with big eyes, wide mouth and erect ears. Hand carved and painted, this mask was collected in Mexico during the 1980's by well known artist and sculptor, Steve Tobin. As the Jaguar is the only Panthera species native to the Americas, it is a popular theme for Mexican artists. The paint condition on this mask is excellent; a hole between the ears is used for hanging. DIMENSIONS: 10 1/2" high (26.7 cm) x 8" wide (20.3 cm).
CULTURAL BACKGROUND: The use of masks in Mexico can be traced as far back as 3000 BC to pre-Hispanic culture. With Spanish colonization, masks were used to educate indigenous people on the Christian faith through dramatic presentations. As the two cultures fused, the imprint of each was recorded in masks as part of the tradition of the village festival, honoring saint's days and major Christian holidays, and used in elaborately scripted dance dramas involving music, song, and feasting, lasting for several days. Participants fulfill religious vows by their involvement, while the dances educate and inform the community of shared values and concerns.