T00284 CEREMONIAL INDIAN DANCE: THE MATACHINAS 1948
Inscr. ‘D. E. Brett 1948’ b.r.
Canvas, 50×40 (127×101·5).
Presented by the artist 1959.
Exh: (?) Taos Modern Group, Santa Fé Museum, U.S.A., 1956–7.
The artist wrote (17 September 1959) that the dance is almost entirely Spanish in costume, music, etc.: ‘A variation of the old Spanish Folk Dance “Los Christianos y Tor Moros” celebrating the battle which recovered Spain from the Moors in the 15th Century. Brought to Mexico soon after the Conquest, it added “Matinche” (Cortez' Mistress and Interpreter) as a character, but retained the Spanish El Toro (the bull). It was then brought up into New Mexico where it took on Indian characteristics. The three-pronged stick is still a symbol of its Christian origin…