Dance of the Santiagos from Dances of Mexico

Maker and role
Artist: Carlos Mérida, Guatemalan, 1891-1984
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Object detail

14 1/2 x 11 3/4in (36.8 x 29.8cm)
Credit line
Gift of Susan Toomey Frost
Accession number
Object type
Further information
This ceremonial dance dates back to the arrival of the Spaniards in Mexico, at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It is performed in the mountainous regions of the states of Puebla and Veracruz. The principal figure in the dance is "Señor Santiago" (Señor Saint James) or "Santo Santiago" (Saint Saint James) who, personifying the Indian version of the fighting Patron of Spain, slashes and pounds in all directions. The costumes are restrained and elegant: breeches, doublet, and cape delicately ornamented in gold thread. The artistic interest of this dance lies especially in its ceremonious choreography and in the masks worn by the dancers, which give the spectacle a striking design. The musical accompaniment is made by bamboo flutes and drums.
Subject period


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