TITLE: Korkobi Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Michoacán (Charapán)
ETHNICITY: Purépecha
DESCRIPTION: Korkobi (Corcoví) Mask
MAKER: Victoriano Salgado Morales (1920-2012, Uruapan)
CEREMONY: Danza de los Viejitos
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: maque; plaster

The Korkobi mask (also written in many variations, such as Corcoví and Corcobi) represents a nocturnal bird, which in Purépecha beliefs is considered a sign of ill omen, because its song announces death.  However, the character also represents the sun. The Korkobi dances in the Christmas Eve Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Little Old Men) and is primarily used in the small town of Charapán.

In this dance, a female character (Maringuía) represents the moon, the Korkobi represents the sun, the tecolote (owl) the night, and the viejitos (old men) represent the stars dancing for the amusement of the Holy Child.

All the characters in the dance try to get the attention of the Maringuía with shouts and compliments but it is the Korkobi alone who succeeds in courting her.

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TITLE: Reina de Jardineros
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Oaxaca
ETHNICITY: Zapotec
DESCRIPTION: Reina (Queen) de Jardineros
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Danza de Jardineros
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: cloth covered in beeswax
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; metal o-rings; cotton string

In many parts of Mexico, indigenous populations reenact the Spanish Reconquista, known as the Danza de los Cristianos y los Moros, usually on holidays in honor of the patron saint of the village. In the Zapotec region of Oaxaca, especially San Bartolo Coyotepec, Zaachila, and Santo Tomás Jalieza, this tradition has a unique style and is known as the Dance of the Gardeners. A group formed of a Christian king and queen, a Moorish king and queen, and various princes, princesses, knights and vassals involving an elaborate plot that ends in a machete fight in which the Christians are victorious and force the Muslims to convert to Catholicism. The ceremony is usually performed at the Fiesta de la Virgén de Rosario on the last Sunday of the year, as well as the 2nd and 8th of January. This specific mask represents the Spanish queen.

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TITLE: Saqra Mesh Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Paucartambo
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Saqra (Devil) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in Ollantaytambo
CEREMONY: Danza Saqra (Kuwallada)
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: metal strips; plastic; foam rubber; paint; string

Throughout the highlands of Peru, major festivals include masked dances. One common dance in many towns is the Kuwallada, which includes a Danza Saqra, or dance of the devils. The term saqra is Quechua for “wicked” or “devil” and represents tricksters dressed as animals or devils.  They are not really “evil,” but merely mischievous. In most places, the saqra mask is made of paper maché, covered in plaster and painted. In the ancient town of Ollantaytambo, however, the saqra is a metal mesh mask, with foam rubber ears, horns, and other adornments.

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TITLE: Saqra Eagle Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Paucartambo
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Saqra (Devil) Mask of an Eagle
MAKER: Adriel Ordoñez (Cusco, 1994- )
CEREMONY: Danza Saqra (Kuwallada)
AGE: 2018
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (Mamacha Carmen) annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a festival involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. One component of Kuwallada is the Danza Saqra.  The term saqra is Quechua for “wicked” or “devil” and represents tricksters dressed as animals or devils.  They are not really “evil,” but merely mischievous.

The saqra troupe has a fairly complex organization, with a leader (caporal), two captains (capitánes), a female saqra (china saqra), soldiers, “pets” (mascotas), clowns known as maitas or qhapac qollas, who wear the waq’ollo mask, and the carguyoc, who is an organizer who accompanies (and provides beer for) the musicians.


Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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TITLE: Negrillo (Negrito) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Negrillo or Negrito (Little Black Man) Mask
MAKER: Adriel Ordoñez (Cusco, 1994- )
CEREMONY: Danza Negrillos (Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen)
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Danza Negrillos a dance involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. The Negrillos, also known as Negritos (little black man), represent the slaves brought to Peru in the early colonial period. They dance in two groups, holding thin ropes to keep the group together, with a caporal (captain) in the middle.  The Negrillos is a relatively recent addition to the Festival, and, like the Qhapac Negro dance, are dressed elaborately, yet represent the slaves who were brought to mine precious metals and pick cotton.


Click above to watch a short documentary about Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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TITLE: Saqra Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Paucartambo
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Saqra (Devil) Mask
MAKER: Mario Palomino Coll Cárdenas (Cusco, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Danza Saqra (Kuwallada)
AGE: 2018
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint; metal wire

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (Mamacha Carmen) annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a festival involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. One component of Kuwallada is the Danza Saqra.  The term saqra is Quechua for “wicked” or “devil” and represents tricksters dressed as animals or devils.  They are not really “evil,” but merely mischievous.

The saqra troupe has a fairly complex organization, with a leader (caporal), two captains (capitánes), a female saqra (china saqra), soldiers, “pets” (mascotas), clowns known as maitas or qhapac qollas, who wear the waq’ollo mask, and the carguyoc, who is an organizer who accompanies (and provides beer for) the musicians.


Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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TITLE: Qhapaq Negro Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Qhapaq Negro (Great Black)
MAKER: Unknown maker in Cusco
CEREMONY: Kuwallada Dance (Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen)
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: fiberglass
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a dance involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. The Qhapaq Negro (qhapaq being Quechua for “mighty” or “great” and negro being Spanish for black) represents the slaves brought to work the silver mines and cotton fields in the early colonial period. They dance while singing to a slow and stately rhythm.


Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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TITLE: Maqta Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Maqta (Servant) / Cieguito (Half-Blind) Mask
MAKER: Adriel Ordoñez (Cusco, 1994- )
CEREMONY: Corpus Christi; Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (Mamacha Carmen) annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. A wide variety of dances and dance-dramas are performed during this celebration, as well as others such as Corpus Christi and Carnival.  In nearly every dance troupe is found at least one maqta (servant) character. The maqta dresses as an indigenous Quechua man and serves a crucial role in cultural celebrations in the Cusco Region.  In some dance dramas, he is an important character who represents the poor indigenous folk.  In other dances, he is primarily a clown (bufón) who amuses the audience with his antics, harassing other characters and spectators, and playing tricks on other maqtas.

This maqta is has a hilarious wink and is sometimes known as the cieguito, or half-blind one.


Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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TITLE: Qhapaq Negro Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Qhapaq Negro (Great Black) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in Cusco Region
CEREMONY: Kuwallada Dance (Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen)
AGE: 1940s
MAIN MATERIAL: plaster
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a dance involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. The Qhapaq Negro (qhapaq being Quechua for “mighty” or “great” and negro being Spanish for black) represents the slaves brought to work the silver mines and cotton fields in the early colonial period. They dance while singing to a slow and stately rhythm.


Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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TITLE: Contradanza (Caporal) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua
DESCRIPTION: Caporal de la Contradanza Mask
MAKER: Dionicio Huamán Ayma (Sicuani, 1950- )
CEREMONY: Contradanza
AGE: 2014
MAIN MATERIAL: wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; steel strips; elastic straps

The contradanza dance is performed throughout the Cusco region. The characters include a leader (caporal), soldiers, servants, and children. The dance is usually part of the Fiesta de la Virgen de Carmen in mid-July or Corpus Christi, and is performed to the music of flutes, accordion, and drums. The dance is led the caporal, who wears a military uniform and a plaster or paper maché mask with a long nose, similar to a siqlla.  The main dancers are all men wearing elaborate, brightly colored uniforms and beribboned caps, with a wire mesh face mask. They dance in two lines facing each other.  Accompanying them are a pair of maqtas (servants), who serve the role of clowning to amuse the audience, and a pair of children.

This mask represents the caporal.  It is identical to the siqlla, or doctorcito, mask, except that the caporal‘s facial expression is bellicose instead of smiling.


Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.

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