Ceremonial mask

1 Jan 2000 — 1 Jan 2020 at the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, United States

13 JUNE 2017
Ceremonial mask. Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art
Ceremonial mask. Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

The Sicán culture flourished in northern Peru between A.D. 700 and 1300. This mask depicts the most important human image in Sicán art, a mythic or religious figure called the Sicán Lord.

Dallas’s mask is characteristically horizontal, with comma‑shaped eyes, a prominent nose, and a rectangular flange at each side, which typically supported circular ear ornaments.

The eyes of the mask are overlaid with copper, which has oxidized to a deep green, and traces of red on the forehead and cheeks show that it, like other masks, was painted with cinnabar. A similar mask from Huaca Loro (Sicán National Museum, Ferreñafe, Peru) was accompanied by a headdress of silver and gold, indicating that such masks represented an element of elaborate ceremonial regalia.