TITLE: Marimonda Mask
TYPE: hood mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Marimonda Mask
MAKER: Adelaide Agámez, Barranquila
MAIN MATERIAL: polyester fabric
OTHER MATERIALS: sequins; stitching
In some parts of Colombia, Carnival is celebrated with a masquerade that both invokes the protection of forest spirits and ridicules high society. The Marimonda is a character that originated in the town of Barranquila to represent a cross between an elephant and monkey. The costume was created by the poor, who had little to spend on elaborate costumes. The masquerader formerly wore his cheap clothing inside out with a tie, whistling loudly to insult the ruling class and lazy public officials. Today, gaudier costumes are more common, and the Marimonda mask and costume are commonly made with shiny and colorful fabrics and adorned with sequins.
Other popular Colombian Carnival characters (also shown here) are the jaguar, the little bull, and dog (not shown). The negra puloy or palenquera represents a joyous black woman, descendant of the freed slaves brought to Colombia, who dances the fandango. Frequently, the negra puloy is not a masked character, but an Afro-Colombian girl wearing red, white and black costume with a short skirt and large necklace and earrings. The Congo is one of the oldest Colombian carnival characters and represents an indigenous war dancer. The dancers accordingly carry a wooden machete and dance in an organized group. The glasses are of course an anomaly, but non-masked Congo dancers frequently wear sunglasses.