TITLE: Peliqueiro
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Peliqueiro (Hairdresser) Mask
MAKER: Mask: Francisco “Paco” Diéguez (Matamá, Laza, 1950- ); Painting: Olalla Diéguez Boo (Matamá, Laza, 1980- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2008
MAIN MATERIAL: wood; aluminum sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: leather; oil-based paint; dyed cotton yarn; waxed thread; foam rubber; rabbit pelt; synthetic fur; denim; 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 Laza, main characters are very similar to the Cigarrones of the nearby, larger town of Verín. These characters, called Peliqueiros (hairdressers), 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 (chocas). 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. Like the Cigarrón, the Peliqueiro 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, or sometimes anyone who does not show sufficient respect to the Peliqueiros. Although Entroido in Laza includes crowds of celebrants throwing rags soaked in clay mud (Farropada) at each other, or shaking branches full of stinging ants onto each other during the Morena, the Cigarrón is considered untouchable and must be avoided and treated with respect throughout the Entroido.

This mask was used by the maker, Paco Diéguez, for nine years in the Carnivals of Matamá and Laza. The malamute on the mitra is a portrait of his dog companion at the time, painted by his daughter.

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Podence
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: Luís Filipe Costa (Podence, 1985- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: steel sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; elastic straps

In Podence, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo there) is celebrated in a unique way. Masqueraders put on crude, pointy-nosed masks made of leather, wood, or folded and welded steel or tin sheet, usually painted red, black, or both. Their costumes are a hooded suit of furry cotton yarn and always consisting of red, yellow, and green colored stripes. They also wear leather belts and bandoliers with bells attached, and they wield a stick or club. The caretos appear in groups, running chaotically through the village to harass the young women. The careto during this time is effectively granted immunity from the rules of decorum.  He can violate social norms with impunity, as he is considered the manifestation of a supernatural spirit. Such beliefs strongly imply a lingering pre-Christian origin for the ceremony in this region.

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TITLE: Cigarrón
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Cigarrón (Cigarette) Mask
MAKER: Álvaro Ferreira Diéguez (Verín, 1966- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 1993
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.

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: António Alves (Varges, Bragança, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: aluminum sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: goat horns; enamel paint

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: Oscar Barros (Bragança)
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2015
MAIN MATERIAL: steel sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: enamel paint

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Cajun Mardi Gras
TYPE: face mask; costume
GENERAL REGION: North America
COUNTRY: United States of America
SUB-REGION: Acadiana, Louisiana
ETHNICITY: Cajun
DESCRIPTION: Cajun Mardi Gras Mask and Costume
MAKER: Tom Norman, Church Point (1940-2019)
CEREMONY: Courir de Mardi Gras
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: steel wire mesh; dyed cotton cloth
OTHER MATERIALS: vinyl; plastic decorations; elastic band; silicone glue; acrylic paint; cotton batting; brass bells

In Catholic practice, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) is the last day of celebration of Carnival before the fasting period of Lent. In the Acadiana country of southern Louisiana, the descendants of French Canadian immigrants known as “Cajuns” (short for “Acadians”) celebrate Mardi Gras in a manner quite different from the better known Carnival of New Orleans.  The Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras parade) occurs in most towns of Cajun country only on Mardi Gras itself.

Masqueraders wear full or partial wire mesh masks and quilted suits with tall, conical hats covered in colorful fabric.  They either ride from farm to farm on horseback or drive as a group in trucks with an unmasked leader wearing the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold.  When they reach a farm, the captain, who carries a whip in one hand and a white flag in the other, approaches the farmer and asks: “Le Mardi Gras demande votre permission pour visiter ta maison” (“The Mardi Gras requests permission to visit your house”), or words to that effect. Upon assent, the revelers descend and run or crawl toward the house, singing a begging song, then exploding into pranks and comedic antics while the captain tries to subdue them with his whip. The only way to make them leave is to donate gifts or money, traditionally a chicken for the evening gumbo, in which the farmer is invited to partake.

For more on the Acadian Carnival celebration, see the excellent book by Carl Lindahl and Carolyn Ware, Cajun Mardi Gras Masks (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).


A short video featuring Cajun Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana, 2019.

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TITLE: Achachi Paxlo
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: Oruro
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Achachi Paxlo Helmet Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival (La Diablada)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: tin sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: brass; plastic; synthetic fiber; metal chain; paint; glitter

The Morenada (Dance of the Moors) is an annual ceremony in several towns in the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile, usually incorporated into Carnival.  The dance includes both male and female Moors dancing in a group with whips, rattles, or scepters. A King of the Moors (Rey de Morenos) presides and coordinates the dance. The dance typically occurs in the course of a parade, with marching bands playing musical scores for the dancers.  The precise origins of the Morenada are the subject of debate, with most specialists concluding that the dance was inspired by African slaves brought to Bolivia to work the mines or the subsequent integration of Africans into the Yungas community near La Paz.  The morena wears a fancy version of the traditional Bolivian costume with the classic bowler hat.

This mask represents an achachi, an old, bald man who previously worked as a captain or slave-driver under a colonial landowner.  The achachi may be represented as a black or white man (as here), but in either case he has a long, aquiline nose, bushy beard, cruel expression, and elaborate costume.  The pipe is a fixture in both achachi and moreno characters.

This specific mask was fashioned by a skilled mask-maker (caretero) in Oruro, probably around the early 1980s, from recycled tin sheeting.

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

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TITLE: Cajun Mardi Gras
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: North America
COUNTRY: United States of America
SUB-REGION: Acadiana, Louisiana
ETHNICITY: Cajun
DESCRIPTION: Synthetic Fur Mardi Gras Mask
MAKER: Tom Norman, Church Point (1940-2019)
CEREMONY: Courir de Mardi Gras
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: steel wire mesh; synthetic fur
OTHER MATERIALS: vinyl; plastic decorations; elastic band; silicone glue; acrylic paint; cotton batting; brass bells

In Catholic practice, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) is the last day of celebration of Carnival before the fasting period of Lent. In the Acadiana country of southern Louisiana, the descendants of French Canadian immigrants known as “Cajuns” (short for “Acadians”) celebrate Mardi Gras in a manner quite different from the better known Carnival of New Orleans.  The Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras parade) occurs in most towns of Cajun country only on Mardi Gras itself.

Masqueraders wear full or partial wire mesh masks and quilted suits with tall, conical hats covered in colorful fabric.  They either ride from farm to farm on horseback or drive as a group in trucks with an unmasked leader wearing the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold.  When they reach a farm, the captain, who carries a whip in one hand and a white flag in the other, approaches the farmer and asks: “Le Mardi Gras demande votre permission pour visiter ta maison” (“The Mardi Gras requests permission to visit your house”), or words to that effect. Upon assent, the revelers descend and run or crawl toward the house, singing a begging song, then exploding into pranks and comedic antics while the captain tries to subdue them with his whip. The only way to make them leave is to donate gifts or money, traditionally a chicken for the evening gumbo, in which the farmer is invited to partake.

For more on the Acadian Carnival celebration, see the excellent book by Carl Lindahl and Carolyn Ware, Cajun Mardi Gras Masks (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).


A short video featuring Cajun Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana, 2019.

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TITLE: Cajun Mardi Gras
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: North America
COUNTRY: United States of America
SUB-REGION: Acadiana, Louisiana
ETHNICITY: Cajun
DESCRIPTION: Paisley Cloth Mardi Gras Mask
MAKER: Tom Norman, Church Point (1940-2019)
CEREMONY: Courir de Mardi Gras
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: steel wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: dyed cotton cloth; polyester cloth; brass and enamel pin; elastic band; silicone glue; acrylic paint; cotton batting

In Catholic practice, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) is the last day of celebration of Carnival before the fasting period of Lent. In the Acadiana country of southern Louisiana, the descendants of French Canadian immigrants known as “Cajuns” (short for “Acadians”) celebrate Mardi Gras in a manner quite different from the better known Carnival of New Orleans.  The Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras parade) occurs in most towns of Cajun country only on Mardi Gras itself.

Masqueraders wear full or partial wire mesh masks and quilted suits with tall, conical hats covered in colorful fabric.  They either ride from farm to farm on horseback or drive as a group in trucks with an unmasked leader wearing the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold.  When they reach a farm, the captain, who carries a whip in one hand and a white flag in the other, approaches the farmer and asks: “Le Mardi Gras demande votre permission pour visiter ta maison” (“The Mardi Gras requests permission to visit your house”), or words to that effect. Upon assent, the revelers descend and run or crawl toward the house, singing a begging song, then exploding into pranks and comedic antics while the captain tries to subdue them with his whip. The only way to make them leave is to donate gifts or money, traditionally a chicken for the evening gumbo, in which the farmer is invited to partake.

For more on the Acadian Carnival celebration, see the excellent book by Carl Lindahl and Carolyn Ware, Cajun Mardi Gras Masks (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).


A short video featuring Cajun Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana, 2019.

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TITLE: Cajun Mardi Gras
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: North America
COUNTRY: United States of America
SUB-REGION: Acadiana, Louisiana
ETHNICITY: Cajun
DESCRIPTION: Paisley Cloth Mardi Gras Mask
MAKER: Tom Norman, Church Point (1940-2019)
CEREMONY: Courir de Mardi Gras
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: steel wire mesh
OTHER MATERIALS: dyed cotton cloth; polyester cloth; brass and enamel pin; elastic band; silicone glue; acrylic paint; cotton batting

In Catholic practice, Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) is the last day of celebration of Carnival before the fasting period of Lent. In the Acadiana country of southern Louisiana, the descendants of French Canadian immigrants known as “Cajuns” (short for “Acadians”) celebrate Mardi Gras in a manner quite different from the better known Carnival of New Orleans.  The Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras parade) occurs in most towns of Cajun country only on Mardi Gras itself.

Masqueraders wear full or partial wire mesh masks and quilted suits with tall, conical hats covered in colorful fabric.  They either ride from farm to farm on horseback or drive as a group in trucks with an unmasked leader wearing the traditional Mardi Gras colors of green, purple, and gold.  When they reach a farm, the captain, who carries a whip in one hand and a white flag in the other, approaches the farmer and asks: “Le Mardi Gras demande votre permission pour visiter ta maison” (“The Mardi Gras requests permission to visit your house”), or words to that effect. Upon assent, the revelers descend and run or crawl toward the house, singing a begging song, then exploding into pranks and comedic antics while the captain tries to subdue them with his whip. The only way to make them leave is to donate gifts or money, traditionally a chicken for the evening gumbo, in which the farmer is invited to partake.

For more on the Acadian Carnival celebration, see the excellent book by Carl Lindahl and Carolyn Ware, Cajun Mardi Gras Masks (University Press of Mississippi, 1997).


A short video featuring Cajun Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana, 2019.

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