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: Saqra Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Paucartambo
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Saqra (Devil) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in Paucartambo
CEREMONY: Danza Saqra (Kuwallada)
AGE: ca. 1970s-1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint; string

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (Mamacha Carmen) annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a festival involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. One component of Kuwallada is the Danza Saqra.  The term saqra is Quechua for “wicked” or “devil” and represents tricksters dressed as animals or devils.  They are not really “evil,” but merely mischievous.

The saqra troupe has a fairly complex organization, with a leader (caporal), two captains (capitánes), a female saqra (china saqra), soldiers, “pets” (mascotas), clowns known as maitas or qhapac qollas, who wear the waq’ollo mask, and the carguyoc, who is an organizer who accompanies (and provides beer for) the musicians.


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

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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: Español Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Ecuador
SUBREGION: San Andres
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Español (Spaniard) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Corpus Christi
AGE: ca. 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: metal strips; pig hair; paint

In Ecuador, as in Peru, wire mesh masks and elaborate costumes are worn to celebrate Corpus Christi and promote a good harvest. A carved wooden image of Jesus is accompanied through the town to the local church, where dancers and their families attend Mass. They then dance in a local ceremony attended by most of the village. The masks and costumes are intended to represent and parody well-dressed Spanish dandies. Both costumes and masks are frequently adorned with coins to parody the wealth of the Spaniards. Each dancer is accompanied by his family and musicians throughout.

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TITLE: Majeño Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Majeño (merchant) Mask
MAKER: Angel Castillo Medina, Cusco
CEREMONY: Kuwallada Dance
AGE: ca. 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a dance involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. The majeños satirize the Spanish merchants of the Majes Valley who traded in wine and aguardiente (cane liquor). The majeños dance usually in a group of twenty men and one woman, accompanied by a military-type band of brass instruments and drums.  They dance uproariously, carrying about bottles of alcohol, except in the presence of the image of the Virgin. The leading majeño (majeño mayor) is paired with a dancer wearing a female’s mask and dress who carries the liquor for the group, and several maqtas (servant-clowns) accompany the group.


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

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TITLE: Qhapaq Negro Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Qhapaq Negro (Great Black)
MAKER: Unknown maker in Paucartambo
CEREMONY: Kuwallada Dance (Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen)
AGE: 2011
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a dance involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. The Qhapaq Negro (qhapaq being Quechua for “mighty” or “great” and negro being Spanish for black) represents the slaves brought to work the silver mines and cotton fields in the early colonial period. They dance while singing to a slow and stately rhythm.


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

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TITLE: Chonguino Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Jauja
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Chonguino or Español (Spaniard) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Tunantada (Fiesta de San Sebastián y San Fabián)
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: hair; oil paint; copper

The Tunantada dance is a major event during the Fiesta de San Sebastián y San Fabián, patron saints of the city of Jauja, as well as other parts of Peru, including Huaripampa, Mantaro Valley, Yanamarca Valley. In the dance, held every January, participants dress in elaborate European costumes and wear wire mesh masks to imitate and satirize Spaniards (called chonguinos or españoles). Dancers are accompanied by music from a diverse orchestra. Characters include Spaniards, a prince, muleteers, an Indian women who becomes the lover of the Spaniards (the chupaquina or huanquita) and Indians called chutos and huatrilas.

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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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TITLE: Archangel Michael
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Archangel Michael Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: polyester 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 the angel, made from recycled tin, spray painted and hand finished. While the mask is usually painted flesh-colored, sometimes it is left silver to highlight the inhuman divinity of the angel. The angel character usually wears helmet and carries a sword and shield.

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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