This mask was made in Santa Maria Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico.This mask is carved from wood with three faces.The earrings, or possible ear lobes extend each a separate face, one happy and one sad. It weights 14 ounzes, is 8 inches tall and 8.5 inches wide at the earrings.
Day of the Dead wood mask.
Day of the Dead
This mask is to be worn by a woman called la Muerta (dead woman). on the Day of the Dead and for 8 days from 6 am to 8 pm.
It was already very old when it was purchased by an antropologist in July of 1976. Her original typed note card is included.
San Martín Tilcajete is a town and municipality located about 23 kilometres (14 mi) from the city of Oaxaca, in the state of Oaxaca, in the south of Mexico. It is part of the Ocotlán District in the south of the Valles Centrales Region. The municipality is small and rural with all but seven of its 1,631 residents living in the town (as of the 2005 Mexican Census). It is a traditional and historically Zapotec village. The Zapotec language was lost three generations ago, but the municipal government falls under the legal category of “traditional uses and customs” based on ancient community norms. The community is best known for its production of “alebrijes,” which are wood carvings of real or fantastic creatures painted in bright colors and intricate patterns.
An early name for the area was Zapotitlán, referring to the large number of black sapote trees that were in the area; however, these trees are rare today. The current name is derived from the Nahuatl "Tilcaxitl" which means either “black earth depression or bowl” or “mountain of cochineal ink.” The first would refer to a dark fresh water spring, which today is located between Calle de Cajete and Avenida Progreso. The latter meaning would refer to the fact that in antiquity, residents here were known for making ink and dye from the cochineal insect. Another possible origin for the name comes from “tilmas” which is a traditional type of apron worn by workmen to protect clothes underneath and to carry things. Today tilmas are most often seen as part of the costume worn for the Danza de la Pluma.