Monday, we visited the Mask Museum, which is located in a bed and breakfast part way up the hill overlooking San Miguel. It is operated by a couple from New York City. He visits indigenous villages in Mexico where he collects masks that have been used in ceremonies, and she collects Mexican folk art as well as selling the works of seven artists.There are beautiful views of San Miguel from the roof of the B&B.
Masks were used by the indigenous people as a part of their religion. When the Spanish conquered Mexico, they destroyed all the old masks that represented what they considered to be the wrong god and created new masks to teach them the Catholic religion. The Europeans brought many diseases with them that the indigenous people had never experienced resulting in widespread disease until some natural immunity was developed. Due to the sudden loss of workers, the Europeans brought slaves from Africa who had already been exposed to their diseases. This is the reason for a significant number of black masks in the museum.
Today masks are used in performances to celebrate holidays and events in numerous indigenous villages predominantly in southern Mexico. There is usually a couple of mask makers in each village. They are made predominantly of wood with some being made of leather. He has approximately 600 masks in his collection and each one has been worn in some performance. No pictures were allowed in the museum, but he has masks displayed throughout the B&B.
There are a number of Catrina dolls, symbolic of the Day of the Dead, scattered around the B&B.
There was also an extensive collection of folk art.
In building the B&B, they used doors recovered at salvage yards.
I particularly liked the design of the floor in this courtyard.
I had to try on one of the more attractive masks in the sales room.
Our daughter, Laura, is visiting us this week. The picture is from Taco Don Felix which you may remember for its giant margaritas from last year.