I was saddened to learn that master mask-maker Don Toño passed away a few days ago.
Last month while visiting Xico, Veracruz, I was fortunate to visit Don Toño in his home, surrounded by his masks which he carved and painted by hand.
Finding his house was not difficult, I did not need Google Maps, I simply asked townspeople in the street. They all knew him, and all pointed me in the right direction.
He was clearly a kind and gentle man, and he joked that the town's alcoholic drink, torito, might have played a part in his longevity.
A newpaper article and Xico's Facebook commemoration say that he was beloved in Xico, and was known by all for selling peanuts and ice cream in the streets from his home-made bicycle-cart. His masks are featured in Xico's Museum of the Dance. He was also a sculptor and musical composer, and some of his creations are also found in Mexico City's Museum of Popular Art.
I am honored to have made this gentleman's acquaintance, and I treasure the mask that I purchased from him that day.