hand carved, mayan wood masks with animal and ceremonial figures. Complete hand painted in bright colors
Hand-crafted by the artisan´s in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, very detailed stunning folk’s artistry. This work of art is a collector's piece
Wood Hand carved
Hand Painted in the villages surrounding Chichicastenango.
Unique, there is no one equal due the process.
About the animals masks
Masks have been part of rituals in Mesoamerica since pre-Columbian times. Today’s indigenous communities still use them during fiestas and feast days, and the Guatemalan market town of Chichicastenango is an excellent place to find hand-carved wooden masks in the shapes of animals and mythological beings.
This animal mask is hand-carved in family workshops in very rural villages surrounding Chichicastenango, Unseasoned wood is shaped using rudimentary hand tools, and then dried in artisanal kilns; then other family members paint the bright designs.
About Animals in Maya´s culture
Animal persons (usually mammals and birds, but including insects) appear to enjoy a relative autonomy which is lacking in the case of the animal 'co-essences'. They play varying social roles.
In the Popol Vuh, for example, grandfather 'Great White Peccary' and grandmother 'Great White Coati' act as healers, whereas the owl messengers of the lords of the underworld wear military titles.
Turning to the 'ceramic codex', one finds that animal persons are often clothed and acting like persons at court. The howler monkey, for example, is commonly depicted in the social role of a writer and sculptor, and functions as a divine patron of these arts. In the Dresden Codex, certain animals (dog, jaguar, vulture, owl, parrot, frog), most of them clothed as human beings, are seated in between deities, and seem thus to be treated on a par with the latter, while other animals, again acting as human beings, fulfill important ritual roles.
In the New Year rites, for example, an opossum traveler introduces the patron of the incoming year. Similarly, in the Paris Codex, a turkey person alternates with deities in offering the head of the lightning deity (god K) to the new king. Animal persons are repeatedly shown interacting with Goddess.
Many studies have been published on the Popol Vuh, but none has addressed the important role that animals play in the composition of the text and the elaboration of the narrative.
There are approximately 30 different types of animals incorporated into the entire Popol Vuh text, including most existing insects, reptiles and mammals. The format of this study will combine a narrative sequencing of the animals, as they appear in Book II, with an analysis of their form and function.
Book II narrates the adventures of the Maya Hero Twins, Hunahpu and Xbalanque. This narration includes essentially nine stages of sequencing, including their:
1) Conception: owls;
2) Birth: ants;
3) Development: birds, monkeys;
4) Journey to the underworld: mosquito;
5) Series of tests in the underworld;
6) Death and resurrection;
7) performed miracles of destruction and regeneration;
8) Defeat of the underworld Lords;
9) Success and transformation into the Sun and Moon.
In each major phase of the narrative sequence, animals play an active role in enabling the Hero Twins to achieve victory.
The Form and Function of Animal Codes in the Popol Vuh:
Keys to Unlocking the Pre-Columbian Indigenous World View
By David L. Nielson, Weber State University
In Maya mythology and the Popol Vuh, Hunahpu was a son of Hun Hunahpu and Blood Moon, and the older twin to Xbalanque; the two were the Maya Hero Twins.
In the underworld, Xibalba, when their mother spoke with the decapitated head of their father in a tree, the skull spit on the virgin girl’s hand and the twins were conceived in her womb. She was to be sacrificed, but was able to deceive the Lords of the Xibalba with the help of owls.
Chichicastenango, also known as Santo Tomás Chichicastenango, is a town in the El Quiché department of Guatemala, known for its traditional K'iche' Maya culture. The Spanish conquistadors gave the town its name from the Nahuatl name used by their soldiers from Tlaxcala: Tzitzicaztenanco, or City of Nettles. Its original name was Chaviar.
Chichicastenango is a large indigenous town, lying on the crests of mountaintops at an altitude of 1,965 m (6,447 ft). It is located about 140 km (87 miles) northwest of Guatemala City.