Mascara de Diablo con Serpiente by Victoriano Salgado Morales (1920-2012)
Mascara de Diablo con Serpiente (Devil Mask with Snake), c. 1990 by Victoriano Salgado Morales (1920-2012) Uruapan, MIchoacan, Mexico wood, maque pigment application, cow teeth
8.5” high x 8.5” wide x 6” deep
Masks have been created and used in Mexico since 3000 B.C. Masks were used as an important part of ritual dance, expressing the beliefs and religion of the community. They were made by farmers, carpenters, and other laborers who passed down their skills, but often did not identify themselves in their work.
This mask depicts the El Diablo (The Devil). The devil has a snake with an apple in its mouth, representing the apple that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. This mask is used in the Danza de Fecundidad, or the dance of Fertility.
Victoriano Salgado Morales was a prolific designer and maker of wooden, maque, decorative masks used by dancers in Purépecha fiestas. Born in Uruapan, MIchoacan, Mexico in 1920, he was a Grand Master of Mexican Folk art and one of the last skilled masters of this unique art form. Señor Salgado learned this skill from several mask makers of the Magdalena neighborhood where he grew up. His first mask dates back to 1950 and it was a "Negrito" folk dance mask.
Señor Salgado's masks are not painted, the process used for color is a highly superior technique called "maque", which is a pre-hispanic process involving numerous applications of natural earth and insect pigments and oils applied with the palm of the hand that hardens into a brilliant, lustrous surface.
He created over 60 different masks, the most famous: dance of the Señor Naranjo, and the dance of the Tataqueri, Corcovi, Diablos, Negritos and Viejitos. HIs work is highly collectible and can be found in private and museum collections including The British Museum, The Field Museum, The Museum of International Folk Art, and The Smithsonian Institution.
Victoriano Salgado Morales passed away on September 2012, two weeks before receiving the Erendira Award, the highest prize given by the Michoacan State Government. Although Señor Salgado has passed away, his legacy lives on through his family. He was one of Mexico's premier carvers whose masks were synonymous with the regional dances of Uruapan, Michoacán. Now Victoriano's sons, Martin, Gerardo and Juan Carlos carry on their father's tradition by preserving the methods, techniques and materials passed on to them.