TITLE: Contradanza (Caporal) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
DESCRIPTION: Caporal de la Contradanza Mask
MAKER: Dionicio Huamán Ayma (Sicuani, 1950- )
MAIN MATERIAL: wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; steel strips; elastic straps
The contradanza dance is performed throughout the Cusco region. The characters include a leader (caporal), soldiers, servants, and children. The dance is usually part of the Fiesta de la Virgen de Carmen in mid-July or Corpus Christi, and is performed to the music of flutes, accordion, and drums. The dance is led the caporal, who wears a military uniform and a plaster or paper maché mask with a long nose, similar to a siqlla. The main dancers are all men wearing elaborate, brightly colored uniforms and beribboned caps, with a wire mesh face mask. They dance in two lines facing each other. Accompanying them are a pair of maqtas (servants), who serve the role of clowning to amuse the audience, and a pair of children.
This mask represents the caporal. It is identical to the siqlla, or doctorcito, mask, except that the caporal‘s facial expression is bellicose instead of smiling.
Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.