TITLE: Marimonda Mask
TYPE: hood mask
COUNTRY: Colombia
SUBREGION: Barranquila
DESCRIPTION: Marimonda (mythical forest creature) mask
CATALOG ID (Marimonda): LACO005
CATALOG ID (El Congo): LACO001
CATALOG ID: (Torito): LACO003
CATALOG ID (Negra Puloy): LAOC004
CATALOG ID(s): LACO001; LACO002; LACO003; LACO004; LACO005
MAKER: Adelaide Agámez (Barranquila)
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2015
MAIN MATERIAL: polyester fabric
OTHER MATERIALS: sequins; stitching

In some parts of Colombia, Carnival is celebrated with a masquerade that both invokes the protection of forest spirits and ridicules high society. The Marimonda is a character that originated in the town of Barranquila to represent a cross between an elephant and monkey. The costume was created by the poor, who had little to spend on elaborate costumes.  The masquerader formerly wore his cheap clothing inside out with a tie, whistling loudly to insult the ruling class and lazy public officials. Today, gaudier costumes are more common, and the Marimonda mask and costume are commonly made with shiny and colorful fabrics and adorned with sequins. Technically, the word marimonda refers to a class of white-bellied spider monkeys in South America, but the Marimonda Carnival character is only loosely based on the animal.

Other popular Colombian Carnival characters (also shown here) are the jaguar, the little bull, and dog (not shown).  The negra puloy or palenquera represents a joyous black woman, descendant of the freed slaves brought to Colombia, who dances the fandango. Frequently, the negra puloy is not a masked character, but an Afro-Colombian girl wearing red, white and black costume with a short skirt and large necklace and earrings. The Congo is one of the oldest Colombian carnival characters and represents an indigenous war dancer. The dancers accordingly carry a wooden machete and dance in an organized group. The glasses are of course an anomaly, but non-masked Congo dancers frequently wear sunglasses.