TITLE: Pecado Mayor Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Castile-La Mancha
ETHNICITY: Spanish (Iberian)
DESCRIPTION: Pecado Mayor (Elder Sin) Mask
CATALOG #: EUES002
MAKER: Julio Naranjo Palomo (Camuñas, Spain, 1941- )
CEREMONY: Corpus Christi
FUNCTION: Adult Initiation; Celebration; Secret Society
AGE: 2022
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: goat horns; adhesive; paint; satin ribbons; elastic strap

The Corpus Christi celebration of Camuñas, Spain, embodies a tradition hundreds of years old. The celebration is organized by fraternities (hermandades) of “Dancers” (Danzantes) and “Sins” (Pecados). In its broadest sense, the tradition represents a drama of redemption, the triumph of divine grace over sin. The celebration begins with the Danzantes parading through the streets of Camuñas with masks off, jingling tambourines and playing a drum and a unique percussion wood block called la porra. Leading the group is a Capitán carrying a short spear decorated with ribbons. Accompanying them are a standard-bearer with the fraternity’s symbols and a (male) dancer wearing women’s clothes, playing castanets, and wearing a unique mask called the Madama. The Danzantes follow a predetermined, decorated path through town, stopping periodically for refreshments at the homes of the group’s leaders. The leaders after the capitán, in order of seniority, are the Mayor (Alcalde), Elder Jew (Judío Mayor), and the Twine (Cordel).

The Danzantes finally make their way to the headquarters of the Pecados, who greet them in a double file wearing their horned masks. The Pecados carry a decorated staff (la vara) and are organized hierarchically into the senior authority, the Little Sin (Pecailla, or Pecadilla), the Belt (Correa), the Elder Sin (Pecado Mayor), and the Alternate Belt (Suplente Correa). Also included are initiates (novicios).  The Pecailla and Pecado Mayor each have a unique mask, which, together with the common Danzantes, Pecados, and Madama, makes five types of mask used in the celebration.

After enjoying refreshments again, the Danzantes and Pecados parade together across town toward the curate’s house, where they are joined by women in traditional Spanish dress who, with the standard-bearer and a cross-bearer, accompany the curate. The Danzantes form a double line down the street, and the pecados one by one run up the street toward the curate with their masks on, jumping at the end and kneeling before him. They then remove their masks and receive a blessing from the curate.

On the day of Corpus Christi, the same procedure is followed, but afterward the Danzantes and Pecados parade to the church. The Danzantes alone enter the church and parade through the nave, after which they form a double line in the church plaza outside, between the town clock tower and an altar and reliquary at the rear of the church. They all kneel before the altar, then the Danzantes dance, during which the Pecados individually charge toward the altar, leaping and kneeling before the reliquary and removing their mask. The group then continues to parade together through town, performing one last series of charges toward the curate and returning to their fraternity headquarters.

On the day after Corpus Christi, the initiates are dressed in rags and taken to the town windmill in a straw-covered cart, which is symbolically burned while the initiates are symbolically hung using a safety harness in a ritual called La Horca (The Gallows). La Horca is a form of initiation into the fraternities. The townspeople celebrate the intiation with water fights, and traditionally the hung initiate is thoroughly doused with water, somewhat reminiscent of the way Catholic priests convey blessings or baptism by spraying holy water with an aspergillum.

This mask was donated to the Museum through the generosity of the City of Camuñas and its Centro de Interpretación Danzantes y Pecados.


Click here to watch a short documentary on the Corpus Christi celebration of Camuñas, Spain.

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TITLE: Pecado Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Castile-La Mancha
ETHNICITY: Spanish (Iberian)
DESCRIPTION: Pecado (Sin) Mask
CATALOG ID: EUES004
MAKER: Julio Naranjo Palomo (Camuñas, Spain, 1941- )
CEREMONY: Corpus Christi
FUNCTION: Adult Initiation; Celebration; Secret Society
AGE: 2022
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: goat horns; adhesive; paint; satin ribbons; elastic strap

The Corpus Christi celebration of Camuñas, Spain, embodies a tradition hundreds of years old. The celebration is organized by fraternities (hermandades) of “Dancers” (Danzantes) and “Sins” (Pecados). In its broadest sense, the tradition represents a drama of redemption, the triumph of divine grace over sin. The celebration begins with the Danzantes parading through the streets of Camuñas with masks off, jingling tambourines and playing a drum and a unique percussion wood block called la porra. Lead the group is a Capitán carrying a short spear decorated with ribbons. Accompanying them are a standard-bearer with the fraternity’s symbols and a (male) dancer wearing women’s clothes, playing castanets, and wearing a unique mask called the Madama. The Danzantes follow a predetermined, decorated path through town, stopping periodically for refreshments at the homes of the group’s leaders. The leaders after the capitán, in order of seniority, are the Mayor (Alcalde), Elder Jew (Judío Mayor), and the Twine (Cordel).

The Danzantes finally make their way to the headquarters of the Pecados, who greet them in a double file wearing their horned masks. The Pecados carry a decorated staff (la vara) and are organized hierarchically into the senior authority, the Little Sin (Pecailla, or Pecadilla), the Belt (Correa), the Elder Sin (Pecado Mayor), and the Alternate Belt (Suplente Correa). Also included are initiates (novicios).  The Pecailla and Pecado Mayor each have a unique mask, which, together with the common Danzantes, Pecados, and Madama, makes five types of mask used in the celebration.

After enjoying refreshments again, the Danzantes and Pecados parade together across town toward the curate’s house, where they are joined by women in traditional Spanish dress who, with the standard-bearer and a cross-bearer, accompany the curate. The Danzantes form a double line down the street, and the pecados one by one run up the street toward the curate with their masks on, jumping at the end and kneeling before him. They then remove their masks and receive a blessing from the curate.

On the day of Corpus Christi, the same procedure is followed, but afterward the Danzantes and Pecados parade to the church. The Danzantes alone enter the church and parade through the nave, after which they form a double line in the church plaza outside, between the town clock tower and an altar and reliquary at the rear of the church. They all kneel before the altar, then the Danzantes dance, during which the Pecados individually charge toward the altar, leaping and kneeling before the reliquary and removing their mask. The group then continues to parade together through town, performing one last series of charges toward the curate and returning to their fraternity headquarters.

On the day after Corpus Christi, the initiates are dressed in rags and taken to the town windmill in a straw-covered cart, which is symbolically burned while the initiates are symbolically hung using a safety harness in a ritual called La Horca (The Gallows). La Horca is a form of initiation into the fraternities. The townspeople celebrate the intiation with water fights, and traditionally the hung initiate is thoroughly doused with water, somewhat reminiscent of the way Catholic priests convey blessings or baptism by spraying holy water with an aspergillum.

This mask was donated to the Museum through the generosity of the City of Camuñas and its Centro de Interpretación Danzantes y Pecados.


Click here to watch a short documentary on the Corpus Christi celebration of Camuñas, Spain.

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TITLE: Danzante Mask and Tambourine
TYPE: face mask; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Castile-La Mancha
ETHNICITY: Spanish (Iberian)
DESCRIPTION: Danzante Mask and Tambourine
CATALOG ID (mask): EUES005
CATALOG ID (tambourine): EUES003
MAKER (mask): Julio Naranjo Palomo (Camuñas, Spain, 1941- )
MAKER (tambourine): Ángel Cano Santa Cruz (Camuñas, Spain, 1945- )
CEREMONY: Corpus Christi
FUNCTION: Adult Initiation; Celebration; Secret Society
AGE: 2022
MAIN MATERIAL (Mask): paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS (Mask): cork nose; adhesive; paint; elastic strap
MATERIALS (Tambourine): Alla wood; brass cymbals; leather; brass wire; adhesive; brass hardware; dyed cloth

The Corpus Christi celebration of Camuñas, Spain, embodies a tradition hundreds of years old. The celebration is organized by fraternities (hermandades) of “Dancers” (Danzantes) and “Sins” (Pecados). In its broadest sense, the tradition represents a drama of redemption, the triumph of divine grace over sin. The celebration begins with the Danzantes parading through the streets of Camuñas with masks off, jingling tambourines and playing a drum and a unique percussion wood block called la porra. Leading the group is a Capitán carrying a short spear decorated with ribbons. Accompanying them are a standard-bearer with the fraternity’s symbols and a (male) dancer wearing women’s clothes, playing castanets, and wearing a unique mask called the Madama. The Danzantes follow a predetermined, decorated path through town, stopping periodically for refreshments at the homes of the group’s leaders. The leaders after the capitán, in order of seniority, are the Mayor (Alcalde), Elder Jew (Judío Mayor), and the Twine (Cordel).

The Danzantes finally make their way to the headquarters of the Pecados, who greet them in a double file wearing their horned masks. The Pecados carry a decorated staff (la vara) and are organized hierarchically into the senior authority, the Little Sin (Pecailla, or Pecadilla), the Belt (Correa), the Elder Sin (Pecado Mayor), and the Alternate Belt (Suplente Correa). Also included are initiates (novicios).  The Pecailla and Pecado Mayor each have a unique mask, which, together with the common Danzantes, Pecados, and Madama, makes five types of mask used in the celebration.

After enjoying refreshments again, the Danzantes and Pecados parade together across town toward the curate’s house, where they are joined by women in traditional Spanish dress who, with the standard-bearer and a cross-bearer, accompany the curate. The Danzantes form a double line down the street, and the pecados one by one run up the street toward the curate with their masks on, jumping at the end and kneeling before him. They then remove their masks and receive a blessing from the curate.

On the day of Corpus Christi, the same procedure is followed, but afterward the Danzantes and Pecados parade to the church. The Danzantes alone enter the church and parade through the nave, after which they form a double line in the church plaza outside, between the town clock tower and an altar and reliquary at the rear of the church. They all kneel before the altar, then the Danzantes dance, during which the Pecados individually charge toward the altar, leaping and kneeling before the reliquary and removing their mask. The group then continues to parade together through town, performing one last series of charges toward the curate and returning to their fraternity headquarters.

On the day after Corpus Christi, the initiates are dressed in rags and taken to the town windmill in a straw-covered cart, which is symbolically burned while the initiates are symbolically hung using a safety harness in a ritual called La Horca (The Gallows). La Horca is a form of initiation into the fraternities. The townspeople celebrate the intiation with water fights, and traditionally the hung initiate is thoroughly doused with water, somewhat reminiscent of the way Catholic priests convey blessings or baptism by spraying holy water with an aspergillum.

This mask was donated to the Museum through the generosity of the City of Camuñas and its Centro de Interpretación Danzantes y Pecados.


Click here to watch a short documentary on the Corpus Christi celebration of Camuñas, Spain.

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TITLE: Nazarene (Penitent) Mask and Robes
TYPE: face mask; costume
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Andalusia
ETHNICITY: Spanish (Iberian)
DESCRIPTION: Mask and Costume of Córdoban Nazareno (Penitente)
CATALOG #: EUES001
MAKER: Juan Carlo Vizcaíno Peralbo (Córdoba, 1979- )
CEREMONY: Holy Week
FUNCTION: Celebration; Secret Society
AGE: 2022
MAIN MATERIAL: “sarga de targál” (cotton-polyester blend cloth)
OTHER MATERIALS: velvet; stitching; rayon belt; cardboard and cotton cloth cone

The Nazarenos (Nazarenes), also called Penitentes (Penitents) are members of fraternities (cofradías) who participate in processions during the Catholic holiday period known as Holy Week in various parts of Spain, especially Andalusia. The robes are designed to preserve the anonymity of the penitent, and the cone-shaped hood, called a capirote, suggests a rising of the penitent toward heaven, or it may be used to redirect attention from the penitent upward, where Catholics believe their god is located. On the chest is a symbol of the cofradía. During Holy Week, the Nazarenos parade daily from the local cathedral or church around a designated route, preceding a paso (a table carried by costaleros and displaying a scene from the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth or an image of his mother Mary). The Nazarenos may carry large candles, a scepter, or an item of religious significance.

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TITLE: Vellarón Mask & Costume
TYPE: helmet mask; costume; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Vellarón (Old Man) Mask and Costume with Zamarra (Whip)
CATALOG ID: EUES010
MAKER (MASK): Adelino Martínez (Riós, 1964- )
MAKER (COSTUME): Jaime Pérez Rodríguez (Riós, d.o.b. unknown)
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2010
MAIN MATERIAL (MASK): cardboard
OTHER MATERIALS (MASK): paper maché; paper; metal wire; synthetic ribbons; polyester beard; adhesive; paint
COSTUME MATERIALS: polyester cloth and ribbons; leather belt; brass bells; brass hardware; synthetic leather leggings
ACCESSORY MATERIALS: wood; paint; leather straps; cotton wadding; burlap; metal hardware

The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In the region of Riós, the celebration begins with a parade of brightly dressed vellaróns, who travel around towns such as Castrelo de Cima and neighboring villages, requesting food or money for the Carnival feast. They may accompany other characters, such as A Madama, an elegant lady, O Farrangón, a man in old rags, or even costumed dogs.

The vellarón mask and costume are ancient in origin, but they were lost around 1977, only to be recovered in 2007 and restored to use. In the Galician dialect, a vellarón is an old man, as the mask and costume suggest.

This mask and costume were acquired by a generous donation by the Township of Riós in 2018.

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TITLE: Boteiro
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Boteiro Mask with Pantalla
CATALOG ID: EUES011
MAKER: Javier Martínez González, Santa Mariña de Froxais, Viana do Bolo (1983- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2008
MAIN MATERIAL: hardwood (mask); iron rods (pantalla)
OTHER MATERIALS: lacquer; red deer antlers; cardboard; dyed paper; leather straps; hardware; foam rubber padding; adhesive; dyed satin ribbons

The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In the region of Viana do Bolo, the celebration begins with a parade of folións, marching bands playing primarily the bombo drum and other percussion. The folións are surrounded by boteiros, masqueraders with colorful costumes and poles, who charge through the crowd to make way for the musicians and vault high on their poles in a display of athletic skills. Each village around Viana do Bolo contributes a team of musicians and masqueraders, and most villages have their own unique style of mask.

In Santa Mariña de Froxais, whence this mask comes, the boteiros typically wear handmade wooden masks, lacquered but otherwise left their natural color, and a very large superstructure (pantalla) attached to the top of the mask made of heavy iron, covered with cardboard and colorful paper. The masks may weigh as much as 30 pounds (14 kg). The ability to run, jump, and vault while wearing the mask demonstrates the masquerader’s strength and athletic prowess.

Click above to watch a short video of the Carnival of Viana do Bolo, Spain.

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TITLE: Jarramplas Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Extremadura
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Jarramplas Mask
CATALOG ID: EUES008
MAKER: Marcos Calle Vicente, Piornal (1972- )
CEREMONY: Fiesta de San Sebastián
AGE: 2002
MAIN MATERIAL: fiberglass
OTHER MATERIALS: metal hardware; steel mesh; oil-based paint; horsehair; fiberboard; foam rubber; adhesive

Jarramplas is an annual festival held primarily in the mountain town of Piornal in Extremadura, Spain, during the Festival of St. Sebastian (January 19 & 20). The tradition begins with a man dressed as a devil in heavy armor playing a small drum while running along the town streets. Inhabitants of the town chase him until they corner him, surround him, and continually pelt him with large, heavy turnips. Meanwhile, he continues to play the drum until midnight, being pelted viciously all the while. The Festival ends with a High Mass and an invitation to the celebrated Jarramplas to come to eat migas (a dish made of bread crumbs, pork ribs or sausage, spinach, and seasonings) at the local prefect’s house.

The origins of this ancient are contested. Some believe the Jarramplas represents a cattle thief getting his due but ultimately reforming at the hands of the religious authorities. Others think he represents St. Sebastian himself, who was reputedly shot full of arrows, for which the turnips are symbolic.

Because the turnips are sizable and thrown vigorously, the Jarramplas has always worn an armored costume. Originally, masks were made of wood, but for many years they have been constructed from hard fiberglass and fiberboard, and padded internally with foam rubber. The helmet is physically fitted to the armored suit, composed of iron rods and fiberglass, and covered with multicolored rags. There are usually only one or two dedicated Jarramplas masqueraders during each festival.

This mask was graciously donated to the Museum by the maker, Marcos Calle Vicente, and the Township of Piornal, with special thanks to Ms. Clara Calle.

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Basketry Careto
CATALOG ID: EUPT002
MAKER: António Alves (Varges, Bragança, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: plant fiber (escrinho)
OTHER MATERIALS: N/A

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or, as here, escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
CATALOG ID: EUPT003
MAKER: António Alves (Varges, Bragança, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: cork bark
OTHER MATERIALS: adhesive; lacquer; vegetable fibers

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Devil Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Lamego
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Devil Careto
CATALOG ID: EUPT005
MAKER: Albino Neves (Lazarím)
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2015
MAIN MATERIAL: alder wood
OTHER MATERIALS: jute rope; elastic straps

The residents of the small town of Lazarím, Portugal, claim that their Carnival is the most authentic in Portugal and dates back to the Celtic invasions from central Europe in the first millennium BCE. The participants begin with a walk from Lamego to Lazarím or a town parade, dressed in costumes and masks made of natural materials such as burlap, wicker, pine boughs, or dried grass. The masks are usually hand-carved of wood and uncolored. They most commonly represent devils, but they may also represent animals, kings, or (in this case) Jesus of Nazareth himself. The parade is accompanied by a band of drums and percussion instruments.

After the parade, a young man and woman designated to carry paper maché effigies of a compadre and comadre assemble the village in the square and read out a list of the embarrassing acts of the villagers during the preceding year, to the amusement of all. The shamed individuals are then redeemed by the symbolic burning of the effigies. The villagers then share a feast of bean and meat stew cooking in a large cauldron in the square.  Masqueraders frequently play pranks throughout Fat Sunday and Fat Tuesday.

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