TITLE: Waq’ollo Mask for Alcalde
TYPE: hood mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
ETHNICITY: Quechua
DESCRIPTION: Waq’ollo for Alcalde (Mayor) of the Qhapaq Q’olla
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Qoyllur Rit’i; Corpus Christi
AGE: 1940s
MAIN MATERIAL: dyed and knitted lama wool
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, as here; 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: Diablo Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Puno
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Diablo (Devil) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (Diablada)
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: recycled metal gas can
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

The Diablada of Peru is a Carnival parade of dancing devils similar to ones held in Bolivia and northern Chile.  The dance represents the forces of evil struggling with the forces of good, represented by the Archangel Michael.  There is probably some connection between the diablos (devils) and the Tío Supay, the traditional god/demon of the underworld in pre-Christian Altiplano culture.

This specific mask was made in the 1970s in Puno, or possibly Cuzco, and used in Puno for many years.

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TITLE: Chuto
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Jauja
ETHNICITY: Quechua
DESCRIPTION: Chuto
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Tunantada; Chonginada
AGE: 1979
MAIN MATERIAL: leather
OTHER MATERIALS: wool; glass eyes; pigment

The Tunantada is a dance performed in the Jauja region of Peru during the January Festival of San Sebatián and San Fabián, patron saints of the town. Dancers in wire mesh masks represent the Spaniards, who oppress the chutos, or Amerindians.  The dance-drama satirizes all the groups of the colonial period.  It is a group dance, in which each character of the set performs different steps to the rhythm of a single melody.

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TITLE: Son de Diablos Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Lima
ETHNICITY: Afro-Latino
DESCRIPTION: Diablo
MAKER: Unknown maker, probably in Cusco
CEREMONY: Son de (los) Diablos Dance, Corpus Christi
AGE: ca. 1910
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Son de Diablos (or Son de los Diablos), the “Song of the Devils,” is an Afro-Latino dance developed in Peru by the descendants of African slaves in Lima, possibly as early as 1800.  Despite its ties to Corpus Christi celebrations in the Andean region, the Catholic Church banned the dance in 1817.  Nonetheless, its practice continued abated, finally experiencing a revival in the 1950s.  Masqueraders typically emerge in a large group and do an energetic dance to special music for the occasion.

This mask was made around 1910 in Lima and was used there for many years.

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