Victor López Rodríguez, San Marcos, Ocosingo, Chiapas
Víctor López Rodríguez makes masks with his mother Antonia Rodríguez Sánchez. Originally, the masks were used in the Sibaca carnival. Artisans had stopped making the masks in the 1970s, however, Antonia's father-in-law restarted the tradition and taught his daughters and sons how to make the ceremonial masks. Her family is the only one currently keeping this tradition alive. The leather masks made for the dances are at great risk of being forgotten.
Don Geronimo Lopez Mendez, Victor's grandfather, remembers the festivities fondly. As a child, he would climb a tree near the church in the plaza and sit for hours watching the dances and admiring the masks. He was fascinated by them and learned to make them. After the 1970s, he and his family were the only ones who knew the secrets to making these unique dance masks. He taught his son and daughters, Josefina and Petrona, as well as his daughter-in-law, Antonia Rodriguez Sanchez, how to make them.
The masks are made from cowhides, which have been cured in salt, and then the designs are burned into the hair. Horse hair is used to decorate them. The face designs are inspired by the surrounding flora and fauna, but somehow also bear a resemblance to African masks. We have not been able to get information on who the masks represent, nor what the dances are about, but these primitive masks are fascinating and do not seem to be related to any other masks in Chiapas.
The women of the village also make rag dolls and Antonia took the initiative to teach herself to make clay dolls and toys. In 2019, Antonia won second place in the Fray Bartolome Toy Contest with a pair of dolls, the midwife and the mother. Antonia is a talented mask artisan. She knows how to buy the skins, dry them (six months) and draw the pattern of the mask they wish to create. The masks are decorated with patterns inspired by nature: trees, flowers and animals. They are unique in that their masks are reminiscent of African style masks.
Antonia also taught herself how to work with clay and make traditionally indigenous games and dolls. The dolls have also won many awards in the state Fray Bartolome competition. She and her daughter-in-law make traditional costumes to dress the dolls.
San Marcos, Ocosingo, Chiapas
Signal no esta bien 919 158 7763