TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
DESCRIPTION: Cigarrón (Cigarette) Mask
MAKER: Álvaro Ferreira Diéguez (Verín, 1966- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
MAIN MATERIAL: wood; brass sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: leather; oil-based paint; dyed cotton yarn; waxed thread; foam rubber; rabbit pelt; animal pelt; hardware; horsehair
The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In the region of Verín, the celebration begins with a “baptism” of characters known as Cigarrones (literally, cigarettes). Cigarrones wear fancy and intricate costumes of velvet jackets, tasseled short pants, laced hose, an embroidered scarf (pañoleta), and a belt with large brass or copper cowbells (chocallos). The mask is made of wood, padded with leather and lined with rabbit fur. Attached to the top is a metal screen in the shape of a bishop’s miter (mitra), painted with a totemic animal or scene, decorated with tassels (pondones) and lined in the back with leather, animal fur, and hair from a horse’s tail. The Cigarrón carries a leather whip (zamarra) with a long, carved wood handle to lash any member of the crowd who fails to move out of the way of the parade. Although Entroido in Verín includes crowds of celebrants throwing flour or talc at each other (a symbolic fertility rite), the Cigarrón is considered untouchable and must be avoided and treated with respect throughout the Entroido.
This mask was used by the maker, Álvaro Diéguez, for twenty-four years in the Carnival of Verín. The falcon on the mitra is a symbol of ferocity and agility.