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This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.

Description

Carved wooden mask painted bright blue and blue-green with red and dark blue markings. Curled gold sheep(?) horns are attached to the top by nails. Mouth is open wide with long pointed teeth and an orange rolled leather tongue. The large slanted yellow with red eyes have circular holes cut through. The brow ridge is painted dark blue and red. Large pointed ears are on either side of the head, with a single hole through each ear and one more hole through the centre of the forehead. 'La Pirana' is written in black felt on the back.

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 the Devil, it is possible that the native peoples of Mesoamerica sympathised with the Devil. Lucifer’s rebellion and ejection from hell may have struck a chord with the people’s own vilification and re-sultant 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.

Narrative

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 organised crime units.

Item History

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