TITLE: Boruca Jaguar Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask in the Form of a Jaguar
CATALOG #: LACR005
MAKER: Melvin González Rojas (Puntarenas, 1978- )
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; adhesive; rubber straps; plastic straps; turkey and other feathers

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

This mask, representing the diablo as a warrior in the form of a jaguar, was made by the master carver Melvin González and used by a series of participants from 2019 to 2023 in Cangrúv Rójc celebrations. Eventually, the rubber straps broke and were partially replaced with plastic.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rójc ceremony of Boruca, Costa Rica.

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TITLE: Boruca Toucan Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask with Toucans
CATALOG #: LACR001
MAKER: Santiago Leiva Morales (Bir, 1991- )
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2022
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; adhesive; metal hardware; plastic straps

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

This mask, representing the diablo as a warrior surrounded by totemic toucans, was used by Justin Araya Leiva (San José, 2001- ) in the 2022 Cangrúv Rójc celebration.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rójc ceremony of Boruca, Costa Rica.

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TITLE: Boruca King Vulture Warrior
TYPE: face mask; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask with a Rey Zopilote (King Vulture)
CATALOG #: LACR007
MAKER: José Emilio Granda Obanda (Boruca, 1985- )
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2022
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; metal hardware; rubber straps

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

This mask, representing the diablo as a king vulture (rey zopilote), was used by the maker in the 2022 festival for 15 days.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rócj ceremony of Boruca, Costa Rica.

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TITLE: Boruca Warrior Mask with Jaguar
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask with Jaguar
CATALOG ID: LACR006
MAKER: Melvin González Rojas (Puntarenas, 1978- )
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rójc ceremony of the Boruca people.

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TITLE: Boruca Warrior Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask
CATALOG ID: LACR008
MAKER: Edixon Mora (Rey Curré, -)
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rójc ceremony of the Boruca people.

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TITLE: Boruca Monkey Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask in the Form of a Monkey
CATALOG ID: LACR002
MAKER: Hermes Morales (Rey Curré, -)
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2009
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: red pigment from achiote berry; black pigment from wood ash; white pigment from kaolin clay

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

This mask, representing the diablo as a white-faced capuchin monkey (mono), was used in the 2009-10 festival.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rójc ceremony of the Boruca people.

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TITLE: Boruca Bat Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas
ETHNICITY: Boruca
DESCRIPTION: Warrior Mask in the Form of a Bat
CATALOG ID: LACR003
MAKER: Steven Morales Fernández (Rey Curré, -)
CEREMONY: Cagrúv Rójc (Fiesta de los Diablitos)
AGE: 2011
MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood
OTHER MATERIALS: red pigment from achiote berry; black pigment from wood ash

The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of neighboring indigenous peoples, such as the Coto and Quepo people, who have banded with the Boruca to preserve their traditions and relative independence. Their best known holiday is the Fiesta de los Diablitos (Festival of the Little Devils), properly called Cagrúv Rójc in the Boruca langauge, and held from December 30th to January 2nd each year. The ceremony represents a major community event and a retelling of the Spanish conquest of the Boruca people (represented by masked forest spirits known as diablos, but actually representing indigenous warriors).  All masqueraders are men. The diablos begin parading in the morning at the direction of an elder devil, el Diablo Mayor, representing the glory of the Boruca culture before the conquest.  On January 1st, a masquerader in a toro (bull) mask enters the festivities to represent the invading Spanish. The toro chases the diablos about the village. Although the diablos resist, the toro ultimately knocks down all the diablos, representing the Spanish victory.  Afterward, the diablos return to life, sending the toro into hiding while they hunt him with the help of a masquerader posing as a dog. Ultimately they find, capture, and symbolically burn the toro, signifying the end of the festival. The toro mask is not burned, but saved for the subsequent year’s ritual.

This mask, representing the diablo as a bat (murcielago), was used in the 2011-12 festival by the maker.

Click above to watch a short documentary film about the Cagrúv Rójc ceremony of the Boruca people.

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REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Costa Rica
YEAR PRINTED: 2008
VALUE: sheet of 115 and 155 colónes

These stamps comprise a set of issued by Costa Rica to commemorate its masking tradition. The two masks represent diablos (devils) from the Boruca (sometimes written Brunka) people, who use them in their annual Baile de los Diablos around New Year’s Day, as well as the Juego de los Diablitos.  The surrounding sheet is decorated with a photograph of the masks being used during an annual dance. Evident in the photograph is a torito (little bull) mask, a stock character used in the dance to represent the invading Spaniards during the Conquest.

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