Includes paper, paper maché, or cardboard.

TITLE: Parrampán Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Panama
SUBREGION: Azuero Peninsula
ETHNICITY: Afro-Latino
DESCRIPTION: Parrampán (Male) Mask
MAKER: José del Carmen González Santana (Chitré, 1959- )
CEREMONY: Danza de las Mojigangas y los Parrampanes (Corpus Christi)
FUNCTION: celebration; entertainment
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plastic balls; paint; elastic bands

The Dance of the Mojigangas and Parrampanes is a Panamanian tradition in the Azuero Peninsula during Corpus Christi celebrations and sometimes during Carnival. Each group is composed of drag dancers.  The mojigangas are men dressed as women, and parrampanes are women dressed as men.  They typically dance to the music of a flute, drum and accordeon, and their role is to clown around and satirize local public figures, such as the mayor, curate, recently wedded couples, etc.  Unlike other dancers, the mojigangas and parrampanes never enter the church in masquerade, as they are considered profane.

For more on the folk masks of Panama, see Julio Arosemena Moreno, Danzas Folklóricas de la Villa de los Santos (Instituto Nacional de Cultura de Panamá 1994).

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TITLE: Child’s Monkey Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Japan
SUBREGION: Kyoto
ETHNICITY: Japanese
DESCRIPTION: Saru (Monkey) Mask for a Child
MAKER: Unknown maker in Sagano, Kyoto
FUNCTION: Agriculture; Celebration; Purification
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: washi (Japanese paper)
OTHER MATERIALS: newspaper; water-based paint; adhesive; string

Masks made from washi (thin but tough Japanese paper) are traditionally used by ordinary Japanese people during popular summer festivals in Kyoto Prefecture, such as Otaue Matsuri (rice planting festival) and rice harvest festival. They typically represent a lucky totem, such as the rabbit (usagi), dragon (doragon), raccoon dog (tanuki), or monkey (saru). Most often, such masks are worn by children, although adults may join in the fun as well.   The inscription reads: “Protection from Evil Mask, Saga.”

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TITLE: Child’s Dragon Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Japan
SUBREGION: Kyoto
ETHNICITY: Japanese
DESCRIPTION: Doragon (Dragon) Mask for a Child
MAKER: Unknown maker in Sagano, Kyoto
FUNCTION: Agriculture; Celebration; Purification
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: washi (Japanese paper)
OTHER MATERIALS: newspaper; water-based paint; adhesive; string

Masks made from washi (thin but tough Japanese paper) are traditionally used by ordinary Japanese people during popular summer festivals in Kyoto Prefecture, such as Otaue Matsuri (rice planting festival) and rice harvest festival. They typically represent a lucky totem, such as the rabbit (usagi), dragon (doragon), raccoon dog (tanuki), or monkey (saru). Most often, such masks are worn by children, although adults may join in the fun as well.  The inscription reads: “Protection from Evil Mask, Saga.”

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TITLE: Child’s Rabbit Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Japan
SUBREGION: Kyoto
ETHNICITY: Japanese
DESCRIPTION: Usagi (Rabbit) Mask for a Child
MAKER: Unknown maker in Sagano, Kyoto
FUNCTION: Agriculture; Celebration; Purification
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: washi (Japanese paper)
OTHER MATERIALS: newspaper; water-based paint; adhesive; string

Masks made from washi (thin but tough Japanese paper) are traditionally used by ordinary Japanese people during popular summer festivals in Kyoto Prefecture, such as Otaue Matsuri (rice planting festival) and rice harvest festival. They typically represent a lucky totem, such as the rabbit (usagi), dragon (doragon), raccoon dog (tanuki), or monkey (saru). Most often, such masks are worn by children, although adults may join in the fun as well.   The inscription reads: “Protection from Evil Mask, Saga.”

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TITLE: Kitsune (Fox) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Japan
SUBREGION: Kyoto
ETHNICITY: Japanese
DESCRIPTION: Washi Kitsune (Fox) Mask
MAKER: Unknown
FUNCTION: Agriculture; Celebration; Purification
AGE: 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: washi (Japanese paper)
OTHER MATERIALS: water-based paint; silk cord

Kitsune, or fox, masks are popular in Japan and worn in many types of theater and Shinto celebrations. Wood and kanshitsu masks are used in theater; paper masks like this one are used primarily by the public during festivals such as rice harvest or Oji’s Kitsune no Gyoretsu (Fox Parade) on New Year’s Eve. The fox’s popularity is related to its role as a shape-shifting messenger of the god Inari, protector of rice and fertility. The fox can act benignly or malevolently, bringing a rich harvest or wealth, or stealing these things.

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TITLE: Kanaval Tiger
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Caribbean
COUNTRY: Haiti
ETHNICITY: Afro-Haitian
DESCRIPTION: Tiger Mask
MAKER: Didier Civile, Jacmel
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: late 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; rubber strap; string

In Haiti, the French-speaking descendants of African slaves celebrate Carnival (Kanaval) with parades and parties. Due to the extreme poverty of the great majority of Haitian people, masks and costumes are mostly handmade from recycled or easily available materials. There are stock characters that appear at most celebrations, such as Chaloska and the horned Lanse Kòds, but participants are free to invent their own costumes.  A few expert artisans, such as the one who made this mask, create more professional masks, but even these tend to be made of inexpensive materials, such as paper maché or wire mesh.

For more on Haitian Carnival, see Leah Gordon et al., Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti (London: Soul Jazz Pub., 2010).

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TITLE: Dancing Devil of Yare
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Venezuela
SUBREGION: Miranda
ETHNICITY: Mestizo
DESCRIPTION: Diablo Danzante
MAKER: Manuel “El Mocho” Salvador Sanoja, San Francisco de Yare (1937-2010)
CEREMONY: Corpus Christi; other Catholic holidays
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The dancing devils of Yare are a fraternal order that dances on Corpus Christi and other holidays. When the tradition of dancing in devil costumes first began in San Francisco de Yare, the masks were monochromatic, made from cloth, and came in many forms.  These may date back to the 18th century.  Over time, the drab cloth masks were replaced with cheaper paper maché, and they began to be painted more colorfully to resemble animals, such as bulls, pigs, dogs, or demons. Before dancing, each devil makes a promise to the Church, but devils never enter the church building itself.  Instead, they hear mass outside the church and receive the Bishop’s blessing without entering.

The Dancing Devils Society is organized in a definite hierarchy, with the number of horns (cachos) representing the rank of the dancer.  Each wears a red suit with a crucifix or image of a saint, with a rosary on the belt, and carries rattles (maracas) or, in the case of the lead devil, one rattle looking like a devil’s head and a whip (látigo).  The First Devil (primer capataz) is the leader and has four horns.  The second and third devils (segundo and tercero capataz) have three horns.  Lesser devils (promeseros) have two horns.  All are male; females can participate, but they cannot wear masks.  Instead, they wear the red suit with a red kerchief on their heads.

This mask was made by the well-known dancer “El Mocho,” known as such for having lost four fingers on his left hand while setting off fireworks as a child.

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TITLE: Saqra Eagle Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Paucartambo
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Saqra (Devil) Mask of an Eagle
MAKER: Adriel Ordoñez (Cusco, 1994- )
CEREMONY: Danza Saqra (Kuwallada)
AGE: 2018
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (Mamacha Carmen) annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a festival involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. One component of Kuwallada is the Danza Saqra.  The term saqra is Quechua for “wicked” or “devil” and represents tricksters dressed as animals or devils.  They are not really “evil,” but merely mischievous.

The saqra troupe has a fairly complex organization, with a leader (caporal), two captains (capitánes), a female saqra (china saqra), soldiers, “pets” (mascotas), clowns known as maitas or qhapac qollas, who wear the waq’ollo mask, and the carguyoc, who is an organizer who accompanies (and provides beer for) the musicians.


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

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TITLE: Negrillo (Negrito) Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Negrillo or Negrito (Little Black Man) Mask
MAKER: Adriel Ordoñez (Cusco, 1994- )
CEREMONY: Danza Negrillos (Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen)
AGE: 2019
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Danza Negrillos a dance involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. The Negrillos, also known as Negritos (little black man), represent the slaves brought to Peru in the early colonial period. They dance in two groups, holding thin ropes to keep the group together, with a caporal (captain) in the middle.  The Negrillos is a relatively recent addition to the Festival, and, like the Qhapac Negro dance, are dressed elaborately, yet represent the slaves who were brought to mine precious metals and pick cotton.


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

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TITLE: Saqra Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Paucartambo
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Saqra (Devil) Mask
MAKER: Mario Palomino Coll Cárdenas (Cusco, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Danza Saqra (Kuwallada)
AGE: 2018
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint; metal wire

The city of Paucartambo, Peru, celebrates the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen (Mamacha Carmen) annually on July 16th. The Festival begins by the carrying of an image of the Virgin Mary through the streets to the church. Among the festivities that follow is the Kuwallada, a festival involving numerous masked characters in elaborate costumes. One component of Kuwallada is the Danza Saqra.  The term saqra is Quechua for “wicked” or “devil” and represents tricksters dressed as animals or devils.  They are not really “evil,” but merely mischievous.

The saqra troupe has a fairly complex organization, with a leader (caporal), two captains (capitánes), a female saqra (china saqra), soldiers, “pets” (mascotas), clowns known as maitas or qhapac qollas, who wear the waq’ollo mask, and the carguyoc, who is an organizer who accompanies (and provides beer for) the musicians.


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

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