Uncanny Artist Ephemera and Objects for Artists and Collectors
  • Mexican Folk Art Sculpture of the Zitlala Guerrero Tigre Fight

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    This is an unusual Mexican Folk Art Sculpture of the Zitlala Guerrero Tigre Fight.  This Tigre (Mexican colloquial for Jaguar) Fight occurs on the feast day of the Holy Cross (May 3, 4 and 5).  As a part of the celebration, men from different barrios put on masks and costumes and carry out fierce fighting competitions.  These can involve beating each other over the head with knotted ropes called cuertas.  The masks are made of leather to protect the fighter from injury.  The fighting is a way of petitioning the Aztec god Tlaloc for rain and plentiful harvest.  This sculpture clearly shows the fighters in mid-battle with the tigre figure (dressed in a slightly bloodied jaguar costume, a multi-colored head scarf covering his face, and a mask with multiple quills and a toothed open mouth) lifting his left leg against the side of a hunched (or falling) bloodied man (dressed in a mask with black hair and mustache, blue eyes and a bulbous nose; a pointed straw hat; and off-white cotton peasant clothes with shoulderbag).  The blood appears to be coming from the mouth of the man's mask.  The peasant has one rope knotted on his hat and another one on the front of his bag.  Both figures wear white cord sandals and have painted red toenails.  The sculpture measures 8.25" high (from the point of the hat to the bottom of the simple wood base) and about 4" wide and 4" deep (at the broadest areas).  The work is unsigned.  Maker and age are unknown.  This Mexican Folk Art Sculpture of the Zitlala Guerrero Tigre Fight is in very good condition.  There is a small nick at the top of the nose of the peasant's mask which may be part of the design.