TITLE: Diablo de Tropa
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Diablo de Tropa (Troop Devil) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: ca. 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: recycled tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; glue

The Diablada is an important part of Carnival in several towns in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile.  The Diablada of Oruro, Bolivia, is famous for the large numbers of participants and the elaborateness of their masks and costumes.

The dance dates back to pre-colonial times and was adapted under the influence of the Spanish missionaries to conform to the Catholic doctrine of the struggle between good and evil.  The dance begins with the Archangel Michael commanding personified seven virtues against Lucifer and his personified seven deadly sins and an army of male and female devils.  Other non-European characters, such as the Andean Condor and the jukumari bear, also play a role.

The dance typically occurs in the course of the parade, with marching bands playing musical scores dating back to the 17th century.  In practice, the dance includes both male and female devils dancing in a group led by (rather than opposed by) the Archangel Michael.  Troop devils (diablos de tropa or demonios de tropa) are the standard parade devil, with dragons on the head to represent ferocity.

For more on Bolivian masquerade, see Peter McFarren ed., Masks of the Bolivian Andes (La Paz: Editorial Quipus/Banco Mercantil SA, 1993).

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 2013
VALUE: 12 bolivars

This stamp was issued as part of a set of four celebrating the traditional masked dances of Bolivia. This stamp depicts male and female Diablada characters, who represent devils opposed to the divine forces of the Archangel Michael.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 2013
VALUE: 10.50 bolivars

This stamp was issued as part of a set of four celebrating the traditional masked dances of Bolivia. This stamp depicts male and female Morenos characters, who represent the Moors who invaded Spain and from whom the Catholics reconquered southern Spain in 1492.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 2013
VALUE: 1.50 bolivars

This stamp was issued as part of a set of four celebrating the traditional masked dances of Bolivia. This stamp depicts male and female Incas characters, who represent the indigenous empire of Bolivia before the Spanish invasion. Male Inca dancers sometimes wear masks but frequently do not. Female dancers almost never wear masks.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 2013
VALUE: 1 bolivar

This stamp was issued as part of a set of four celebrating the traditional masked dances of Bolivia. This stamp depicts male and female Tobas characters, who represent the indigenous peoples of Bolivia before the Spanish invasion.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 2016
VALUE: 2 bolivars

This stamp was issued in 2016 to celebrate the Morenada dance (“Most Powerful Morenada”) of the Carnival of Oruro. The Morenada dance depicts the Moors from whom Spain was reconquered in the 15th century CE, and became a tradition in Bolivia following its own conquest by the Spaniards. Originally depicted as sinful heathens by the Catholics, the Moors are now ironically viewed with sympathy due to the fact that they faced the same enemy as the indigenous peoples of Bolivia.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 1972
VALUE: 1.2 bolivars

This stamp was issued in 1972 as part of a set celebrating the traditional dances of Bolivia. This one represents a kusillo, a kind of clown that combines attributes of an insect, shepherd, and devil, although he is considered a benevolent trickster. It is one of the oldest masked characters in the region, predating the Spanish conquest.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 1972
VALUE: 1 bolivar

This stamp was issued in 1972 as part of a set celebrating the traditional dances of Bolivia. This one represents a waca tokhori, or man wearing a bull body mask (waca waca).  The dance of the waka tokhoris mimics and pokes fun at the Spanish tradition of bull fighting, a common passion during the colonial era.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 1968
VALUE: sheet of 4 (1.20 bolivars, 1.40 bolivars, 2 bolivar, 3 bolivars)

This set of stamps was issued as a set of two uncut sheets in 1968 to celebrate the Bolivian Carnival, as part of the Homage to the 9th Americo-Spanish Postal Congress. This sheet includes stamps depicting the Auki or Aukis, and the Morenada (Dance of the Moors). The Auki are comical old masked men and women carrying staves who dance hunched over and with shaking legs to Andean music.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
YEAR PRINTED: 1968
VALUE: sheet of 4 (0.30 bolivars, 0.60 bolivars, 1 bolivar, 2 bolivars)

This set of stamps was issued as a set of two uncut sheets in 1968 to celebrate the Bolivian Carnival, as part of the Homage to the 9th Americo-Spanish Postal Congress. This sheet includes stamps depicting the chunchos (pre-colonial indigenous peoples properly known as the Ch’unchu), and the Diablada (Dance of the Devils).

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