Cover image for Masks of Mexico : tigers, devils, and the dance of life
Masks of Mexico : tigers, devils, and the dance of life
Mauldin, Barbara, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Fe : Museum of New Mexico Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 118 pages : illustrations (some color), color map ; 28 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F1219.3.M4 M39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This is a state-by-state guide for collectors and general folk art enthusiasts to learn about the types of masked dances still carried out in Mexico's Indian and mestizo communities today. Close to one hundred color photographs of authenticated masks from the collection of the Museum of International Folk Art are presented, including finely carved pieces from the nineteenth century to simple face coverings made in the past ten years. The masked ceremonies are brought to life with documentary photographs showing masqueraders acting out their roles.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Mauldin's compilation and Lechuga's impressive photographs taken in the field provide an excellent understanding not only of the use of masks in Mexican native ritual--the book's subject--but also of their role in the celebration of the "dance of life." Although the text is sparse and more suited to that of an exhibition catalog, the mask collection itself, housed at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, delivers a powerful message. Beyond the decorative and colorful elements emerges the idea that native cultures have an insight into the mysteries of life and death that they view with a mixture of reverence and humor. For example, the recurring theme of "Moore versus Christians" not only revives old doctrines introduced by the Europeans after the Conquest, but also integrates contemporary social elements. As a handcrafted object used to cover one's face, to adopt another's persona, the mask is also the way for native people both to exercise their individuality and integrate into a collectivity. The book organizes the rituals and mask types by Mexican states. The accompanying photos of festivals and rituals place the masks visually in a historical and regional context. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. S. T. Clark California State University, San Marcos