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.