This is a spectacular sculpture depicting the
ritual agent of transformation in Meso-America.
The mask serves as a means of transforming the
ordinary to the extraordinary, the natural to the
supernatural. The ritual wearer of this alligator
mask, the shaman, not only represented the
alligator deity; he was the alligator deity. He
manifested the forces associated with the
alligator. The alligator may have been symbolic
of fertility and power. Through the ritual
transformation joining the worlds of spirit and
nature, man and god fused in the zone of
mysterious transition marked by the mask itself.
The shaman sits with his hands at his chest and
bracelets around his wrists. Anklets encircle his
lower legs and ear spools reveal his noble status.
The mask has an ornamental crown at the top
with two interesting projections on each side of
his head. There is a rattle inside of the alligator's
mouth, which may have been shaken during
rituals to summon the god. We are left to ponder
over the hidden secrets within this impressive
sculpture, and the awakened insights it has
brought to our own inner spirits.