MAm 01431

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us


Americas, Guatemala, Rio Salinas, Rio Chíxoy

Prior to 1910

Wood, metal, carved

Collector unknown

Purchased by the museum from Naturhistorisches Institut Kosmos Berlin in 1910

MAm 01431

So-called "devil’s masks" such as this piece are worn during the Baile de los Diablos, the Dance of the Devils in Guatemala until today. The Baile de los Diablos was introduced as popular theater to facilitate missionary work by Catholic clergy.

The performance of dramas and mystery plays by Central American communities dates back to the precolonial period. The later missionary dances also picked up elements from the pre-Christian ceremonies. However, the protagonists of these dances were mostly of European origin and thematized the conquest of Central America by Spain, as well as Christian legends.

Hermann Rolle's Kosmos Natural History Institute dealt in objects of natural science, and occasionally ethnographic objects.

Frank Usbeck