TITLE: Condor Mask
TYPE: helmet mask; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Condor helmet mask
CATALOG ID: LABO018
MAKER: Hilarión Casas, La Paz
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: early 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: oil paint
MATERIALS (rattle): tin sheet; oil paint; wood handle; chicken feathers
The lone condor leads the Diablada, the dance of the devils, in the Bolivian Carnival at Oruro without interacting with the other characters. The condor is the symbol of the Bolivian Republic, and so the character combines patriotism with pre-Christian totemism. The character wears a full body condor suit, usually with adornments of the Bolivian national colors (red, green, and yellow).
This specific mask was made in La Paz by a skilled caretero (mask maker) in the early 1980s. It was repainted in 2017 to cover the chipping caused by years of active use. It includes an elaborate matraca (rattle) in the shape of a condor, used sometimes by the condor himself, and other times by a diablesa or other character.
For more on Bolivian masquerade, see Peter McFarren ed., Masks of the Bolivian Andes (La Paz: Editorial Quipus/Banco Mercantil SA, 1993).