TITLE: Condor Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Condor Mask
MAKER: Hilarión Casas, La Paz
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: early 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: oil paint (rattle: tin sheet; oil paint; wood handle; chicken feathers)

The lone condor leads the Diablada, the dance of the devils, in the Bolivian Carnival at Oruro without interacting with the other characters.  The condor is the symbol of the Bolivian Republic, and so the character combines patriotism with pre-Christian totemism. The character wears a full body condor suit, usually with adornments of the Bolivian national colors (red, green, and yellow).

This specific mask was made in La Paz by a skilled caretero (mask maker) in the early 1980s.  It was repainted in 2017 to cover the chipping caused by years of active use. It includes an elaborate matraca (rattle) in the shape of a condor, used sometimes by the condor himself, and other times by a diablesa or other character.

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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TITLE: Ch’uta
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: La Paz
ETHNICITY: Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Ch’uta Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in La Paz
CEREMONY: Carnival (Danza de las Ch’utas y Pepinos)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: wire; ribbons; tassels; sequins; glue; plant fiber; paint

A ch’uta is an indigenous Aymara born and raised in La Paz. The Dance of the Ch’utas and Pepinos is therefore unique to the La Paz region.  The ch’uta wears a wire mesh mask, usually pink or white, decorated with three tassels on the chin (or, increasingly as here, under the mustache), and an elaborate costume with a native wool cap (lluch’u) or hat. They dance to an orchestra with their unmasked female counterpart, the cholita, who wears a traditional pleated skirt (pollera) and bowler hat. The elaborate costume derives from the historical prohibition by the Spanish colonizers on wearing native clothes. The Aymara had to wear European clothes, which the ch’uta elaborates with native additions to mock the colonizers.

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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TITLE: Waka Waka
TYPE: body mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Waka Waka (Cattle) Body Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (Waka Tokhori)
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: cattle leather
OTHER MATERIALS: wood; cattle horns; paint

In the Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia, many different kinds of masked dances parade through the city.  One such group is the Waka Tokhoris, composed of boys or men dressed as elaborately decorated bulls, and toreadores, or elaborately decorated bull-fighters.  The dance of the Waka Tokhoris mimics and pokes fun at the Spanish tradition of bull fighting, a common passion during the colonial era.  Variations on this dance are performed throughout the Bolivian and Peruvian highlands.

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

Dances of the waka waka are used throughout the Andean highlands. Here is a video of a version from the Peruvian community of Phinaya from 2010, called the Waka Tinti dance, and is performed on the holiday in honor of the local patron saint.


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

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TITLE: Waq’ollo
TYPE: hood mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
ETHNICITY: Quechua
DESCRIPTION: Waq’ollo Mask for Qhapaq Q’olla
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Dance of the Qhapaq Q’olla (Qoyllur Rit’i; Corpus Christi; Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: dyed and knitted wool-acrylic blend
OTHER MATERIALS: N/A

In the Altiplano of Bolivia and Peru, the Quechua and Aymara descendants of the Incans still celebrate Qoyllur Rit’i, the Snow Star Festival in late May or early June to hale the reappearance of the Pleiades constellation and the harvest. Although the Catholic Church has attempted to co-opt the event, it maintains its essentially pre-Spanish conquest character.  Pilgrims from around Peru assemble in the Sinakara Valley in various costumes to dance in celebration. The Qhapaq Q’olla (“mighty Indian”) is one such character, dancing in the waq’ollo mask shown here with a hat, woven sling and a dried vicuña skin. Supposedly they represent a merchant who is half human and half llama, and who brings goods to the Cusco region for sale from the jungle and Paucartambo region, such as pisco liquor. Their roles are primarily that of clown, but they also dance and sing to the Virgin of Paucartambo. They sometimes wear a square flat hat called an aqarapi, and dance in a group.  The group is composed of a Mayor (alcalde), who carries a wooden staff of authority and a black crucifix on his mask, and his wife (la Imilla), a child (q’ollita), two captains, a llama herder (llamero), who wanders into the crowd to pretend to sell his goods, and a group of q’ollas dancing in two rows.  The imilla has a face covered by a black veil.  Qhapaq Q’olla also dance at Corpus Christi parades in Cusco and other religious celebrations.

The q’ollas, aligned according to their age, dance together, led by the captains. Sometimes children called chanako accompany them as well. The musical ensemble that accompanies them consists of a violin, an accordion, a bass drum and several Quena performers.  The q’ollas are always men born in Paucartambo. The costume consists of a flat, rectangular hat (aqarapi) decorated with sequins, old coins or beads; the waq’ollo; a lliclla skin made of vicuña wool, and the qepi that contains a young dead vicuña.  the dance, the collas sing Quechua songs about their commercial activity, their journey to Cusco, and their protective saints.


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

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TITLE: Moreno (Caporal Tundiqui)
TYPE: mask; accessories
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Moreno (Caporal Tundiqui) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Morenada)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin
OTHER MATERIALS: polyester fiber; paint; dyed feathers

The Morenada (Dance of the Moors) is an annual ceremony in several towns in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile, usually incorporated into Carnival.  The dance includes both male and female Moors dancing in a group with whips, rattles, or scepters. A King of the Moors (Rey de Morenos) presides and coordinates the dance. The dance typically occurs in the course of a parade, with marching bands playing musical scores for the dancers.  The precise origins of the Morenada are the subject of debate, with most specialists concluding that the dance was inspired by African slaves brought to Bolivia to work the mines or the subsequent integration of Africans into the Yungas community near La Paz.  The morena wears a fancy version of the traditional Bolivian costume with the classic bowler hat.

This mask represents a male moreno, or Moor, made in the 1980s from recycled tin.  The Moors obviously never reached Bolivia, but they are represented in honor of the Spanish reconquest of Granada from the Moors in 1492.  The morenos dance as a group of males and females, both wear an elaborate and colorful costume.  Males carry a scepter, whip, or matraca (rattle)  like the ones shown here.

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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TITLE: Llamero Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Llamero (llama herder) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Llamerada)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin
OTHER MATERIALS: dyed vegetable fiber; polyester fiber; paint

The Llamerada (Dance of the Llama Herders) is an annual ceremony in several towns in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile, usually incorporated into Carnival.  The dance includes both male and female llama herders dancing in a group with rattles or toy llamas (women) or slings (men). Women wear no masks, but the men wear traditional Andean clothing and a mask with pursed lips. The facial expression represents the llama herder whistling for his llamas to follow him.

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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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. 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: recycled tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; metal springs; glitter; 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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TITLE: China Morena
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: China Morena
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Morenada)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin
OTHER MATERIALS: polyester fiber; paint

The Morenada (Dance of the Moors) is an annual ceremony in several towns in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile, usually incorporated into Carnival.  The dance includes both male and female Moors dancing in a group with whips, rattles, or scepters. A King of the Moors (Rey de Morenos) presides and coordinates the dance. The dance typically occurs in the course of a parade, with marching bands playing musical scores for the dancers.  The precise origins of the Morenada are the subject of debate, with most specialists concluding that the dance was inspired by African slaves brought to Bolivia to work the mines or the subsequent integration of Africans into the Yungas community near La Paz.  The morena wears a fancy version of the traditional Bolivian costume with the classic bowler hat.

This mask represents a china morena, or female Moor, made in the 1980s from recycled tin.  The actual dancer wearing the mask may be male or female.

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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TITLE: Diablesa
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Diablesa Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: ca. late 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: brass chain; synthetic fibers; paint

The Diablada (Dance of the Devils) is an annual ceremony in several towns in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile, usually incorporated into Carnival.  The dance includes both male and female devils dancing in a group led by the Archangel Michael.

This mask represents a diablesa (female devil), made from recycled tin, spray painted and hand finished. The costume of the diablesa in Oruro is usually elaborately decorated and somewhat revealing, although the character may be danced by a man or a woman.

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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TITLE: Jukumari Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Jukumari (Oso)
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: ca. 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: felt covered with plaster
OTHER MATERIALS: paper maché ears; alpaca fur; glass lightbulbs; human hair; paint

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 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.

This mask represents the bear, or jukumari, and dates to the 1960s. It was made by the then-usual technique of putting felt or linen cloth over a fired clay mold, then applying plaster and letting it set. Lightbulbs were painted and used for eyes, and alpaca fur gives the bear a realistic look.

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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