The Marti Mansion
built by a wealthy miner and hacienda owner named Ramon Marti. In 1894, at the height of the opulent era called the Porfirato, Marti purchased and demolished five adjoining homes. Using the engineer Enrique Campos, Marti erected this Neo-classic palace. Campos finished the work in 1897.
Masks and mask-making in Mexico
Aztec Cosmos. However, the Aztecs were relative latecomers to the world of mask-making. 2,500 years before them, the Olmecs were carving extraordinarily fine stone masks of various sizes. Some of these have been recovered from sites along the Gulf Coast of Veracruz and Tabasco. Others have been found in Colima on Mexico's West Coast and in Costa Rica to the south.
Güe Gües and Devil Dancers
Tuxpan in southern Jalisco and the northern Puebla State mountain town of Zacatlán.
Pastorelas are plays that recreate biblical passages related to the Nativity. In that story shepherds were alerted to the birth of Jesus by an angel who directs them to look for him. These plays were introduced by evangelizing friars as a way of teaching Christianity to the newly conquered-and-converted indigenous populations. In the Pastorela plays, devil figures wearing masks like this try to distract and mislead the shepherds from their quest. This mask comes from the Purépecha crafts workers of Michoacan. They are an indigenous people who are famously skilled at woodworking.
Masks and the Animal World
The Aztecs revered a Bat god called Camazotz. However, worship of bats may have originated with the Zapotecs, almost 1,400 years before the Aztecs made an appearance. A beautifully caved bat mask made of jade with shell eyes and teeth has been unearthed at the ancient Zapotec capital of Monte Alban and archeologists date it to 150 BC. The masks above are from Guerrero State and were carved from wood.
called Cipactli by the Aztecs and were associated with the cardinal direction of east. The 260-day Aztec religious calendar was divided into twenty segments of 13 days, with each segment related to a particular god. The crocodile was the symbol of one of these segments and the associated god was Ometeotl, god of duality and creator of all the other gods. The god Tezcatlipoca was one of Ometeotl's sons. According to the mythology, he lost his foot to a great crocodile monster. Perhaps the message was: don't mess with Dad's pet.
This completes Part 5 of my series on San Luis Potosí. Next time, we will continue with the Mask Museum to see masks that reflect the Spanish Conquest and the imposition of Catholicism on the native population. If you enjoyed this posting, don't hesitate to leave a comment or a question. You can do so either by leaving your message in the Comments section or by emailing me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim