TITLE: Waka Waka
TYPE: body mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Waka Waka (Cattle) Body Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (Waka Tokhori)
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: cattle leather
OTHER MATERIALS: wood; cattle horns; paint

In the Carnival of Oruro, Bolivia, many different kinds of masked dances parade through the city.  One such group is the Waka Tokhoris, composed of boys or men dressed as elaborately decorated bulls, and toreadores, or elaborately decorated bull-fighters.  The dance of the Waka Tokhoris mimics and pokes fun at the Spanish tradition of bull fighting, a common passion during the colonial era.  Variations on this dance are performed throughout the Bolivian and Peruvian highlands.

For more on Bolivian masquerade, see Peter McFarren ed., Masks of the Bolivian Andes (La Paz: Editorial Quipus/Banco Mercantil SA, 1993).

Dances of the waka waka are used throughout the Andean highlands. Here is a video of a version from the Peruvian community of Phinaya from 2010, called the Waka Tinti dance, and is performed on the holiday in honor of the local patron saint.

Click above to watch a short documentary on Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru.