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Large dragon mask. Carved wooden mask painted orange-yellow and green, with horsehair attached to the chin. Large mouth with sharp teeth. The face is painted with scales. A gold with black tip pointed ridge extends down the centre of the face to the large flared green nose. Two large curled green horns extend out to the side, and a single gold horn extends straight up from the top of the ridge. The dragon has large pointed ears.

History Of Use

Masks such as these are worn during “Easter Battles” that take place in front of the main church in San Bartolomé Aguas Caliente, in the Apaseo el Alto Municipality. Because the Spanish missionaries forced the association of pre-Columbian deities with the Devil, it is possible that the native peoples of Mesoamerica sympathized with the Devil. Lucifer’s rebellion and ejection from hell may have struck a chord with the people’s own vilification and resultant uprisings. At Easter in San Bartolomé the central plaza becomes a battlefield between hundreds of masked, costumed devils and the un-masked, purple t-shirted followers of Christ. The Devils are called 'cornudos' (horned ones). Filling the battlefield, both factions move back and forward, fighting in pairs and using steel-bladed machetes. No side seems to win. The masked cornudos stay for a few days until Christ is resurrected; then they disappear for another year.


In 2017 Guanajuato was one of the Mexican states most affected by drug-related crime. Authorities from the Apaseo municipality were made uncomfortable by inquiries concerning this context. Shortly before this mask was collected, there was a large unexplained explosion in Apaseo, which locals attributed to organized crime units.

Item History

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