TITLE: Pepino
TYPE: face mask
COUNTRY: Bolivia
ETHNICITY: Aymara; Quechua
DESCRIPTION: Pepino (Clown) Mask
MAKER: Unknown maker in La Paz
CEREMONY: Danza de Ch’utas y Pepinos (Carnival)
AGE: ca. 2010
MAIN MATERIAL: cardboard; plaster
OTHER MATERIALS: cotton cloth; synthetic cloth; paint; mirrors; glitter; beads; tinsel

The clown Pepino is one of the key characters of the Carnival of La Paz, along with the ch’uta and cholita characters. Pepino is a good-natured trickster, spanking the young ladies with a long stocking filled with sand called chorizo (sausage) and suddenly spraying foam on spectators. Although his name literally means “Cucumber,” it is believed he developed from a famous Uruguayan clown, Pepe Podestá (Pepino also means “little Pepe”), combined with the Spanish harlequin character popular in early Republican Carnivals. At the conclusion of the festivities, the Pepino costume is carried to cemetery of La Paz where he is buried, while the cholitas and ch’utas dress in black and feign tears.