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Early 20th C. Wonderful Guatemalan Wooden Deer Mask

Central America, Guatemala, ca. 1925 CE. A hand-carved wood mask of a deer's head with real antlers. The antlers are painted silver, much of which remains, while the head is brown with white, red, and black details at the mouth and eyes. The tongue lolls out between detailed teeth. Sewn onto the top of the head is a brightly-colored cloth decoration with applied large sequins and a mirror at the center. A wonderful piece of folk art! Comes with custom stand. Size: 6" L x 6.25" W x 17" H (15.2 cm x 15.9 cm x 43.2 cm); height on stand: 21" (53.3 cm).

This mask is part of the Baile de Venados, the Dance of the Deer, based on an old Maya ceremony and still performed in eastern Guatemala by the Q'eqchi' Maya and other groups. The original meaning of the dance was to provide food for the people of a community, and the dance is staged as a hunt, with people disguised as dogs helping chase the deer, and other people disguised as monkeys trying to steal the deer meat.

Condition: Nice smooth patina on the horns; wear to paint on the face and its decorations.

Provenance: private Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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