Includes paper, paper maché, or cardboard.

TITLE: Pantalla
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: New Style Pantalla (Screen) Mask
CATALOG ID: EUES015
MAKER: Juan Antioquia (Xinzo de Limia, 1964- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2015
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: cardboard; felt; foam rubber; acrylic paint; polyester cloth; synthetic fringe; stitching

The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In Xinzo de Limia, the main Carnival character is the Pantalla (Screen), which refers to the painted screens atop the helmet masks they wear. These screens are decorated with astral motifs or totemic animals. The Pantalla wears a costume consisting of a white shirt, black pants, a red or black cape, a red scarf, and black shoes, with a red belt holding cowbells. The Pantalla also carries two or more inflated, dried cattle bladders attached to strings, which the Pantalla uses to bang together while jumping and grunting to scare strangers and women.

The Pantalla‘s role is to ensure that nobody walks into the town square or surrounding streets without a disguise. Anyone without a disguise is forced to buy the Pantallas a round of wine, if necessary by abduction to the nearest bar.

Click above to watch footage of the Pantallas of Xinzo de Limia, Spain.

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TITLE: Pantalla
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Galicia
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Traditional Pantalla (Screen) Mask
CATALOG ID: EUES014
MAKER: Celso Lorenzo Otero (Xinzo de Limia, 1956- )
CEREMONY: Entroido (Carnival)
AGE: 2014
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: cardboard; felt; foam rubber; acrylic paint; polyester cloth; synthetic fringe; stitching

The Entroido (Carnival) of Spain’s Galicia province has a tremendous diversity of celebration styles that vary from town to town. In Xinzo de Limia, the main Carnival character is the Pantalla (Screen), which refers to the painted screens atop the helmet masks they wear. These screens are decorated with astral motifs or totemic animals. The Pantalla wears a costume consisting of a white shirt, black pants, a red or black cape, a red scarf, and black shoes, with a red belt holding cowbells. The Pantalla also carries two or more inflated, dried cattle bladders attached to strings, which the Pantalla uses to bang together while jumping and grunting to scare strangers and women.

The Pantalla‘s role is to ensure that nobody walks into the town square or surrounding streets without a disguise. Anyone without a disguise is forced to buy the Pantallas a round of wine, if necessary by abduction to the nearest bar.

Click above to watch footage of the Pantallas of Xinzo de Limia, Spain.

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TITLE: Cora Tiznado Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Mexico
SUBREGION: Nayarit
ETHNICITY: Cora
DESCRIPTION: Tiznado (Judio) Mask
CATALOG ID: LAMX075
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Semana Santa (Holy Week)
AGE: ca. 1950s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: bamboo; paint; animal hair

The Cora people of Nayarit resisted Spanish colonization and proselytization long after most of Mexico succumbed, and their pre-Christian traditions still survive with a thin veneer of Catholicism. Traditionally, the Cora worship three gods, associated with the sun, the moon, and corn.

During the Semana Santa (Holy Week), Cora men paint their bodies with black and white stripes and wear judio (Jew) masks (also called borrados) designed to look like monsters and devils that carry swords and persecute the sun god, who takes the Catholic form of Jesus of Nazareth. The character is called tiznado (“covered with ash”). On Good Friday, the judios capture and kill the sun god, who is resurrected the next day and banishes the judios.

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TITLE: Pepino Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Bolivia
SUBREGION: La Paz
ETHNICITY: Aymara; Quechua
DESCRIPTION: Pepino (Clown) Mask
CATALOG ID: LABO009
MAKER: Unknown maker in La Paz
CEREMONY: Danza de Ch’utas y Pepinos (Carnival)
AGE: ca. 2010
MAIN MATERIAL: cardboard; plaster
OTHER MATERIALS: cotton cloth; synthetic cloth; paint; mirrors; glitter; beads; tinsel

The clown Pepino is one of the key characters of the Carnival of La Paz, along with the ch’uta and cholita characters. Pepino is a good-natured trickster, spanking the young ladies with a long stocking filled with sand called chorizo (sausage) and suddenly spraying foam on spectators. Although his name literally means “Cucumber,” it is believed he developed from a famous Uruguayan clown, Pepe Podestá (Pepino also means “little Pepe”), combined with the Spanish harlequin character popular in early Republican Carnivals. At the conclusion of the festivities, the Pepino costume is carried to cemetery of La Paz where he is buried, while the cholitas and ch’utas dress in black and feign tears.

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TITLE: Bull Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Barcelona, Catalonia
ETHNICITY: Catalan
DESCRIPTION: Toro (Bull) Mask
CATALOG ID: EUES006
MAKER: Augusto Duch (Barcelona)
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; ribbons; wire mesh

Carnival is celebrated throughout Catholic Europe with parades and other festivities, often including masqueraders. For centuries, Spaniards venerated the ritual of bullfighting, inherited from Roman gladiator contests, and it is still practiced in parts of Spain. Although several regions, including Catalonia since 2012, has banned it as unnecessary cruelty to animals. Nonetheless, the symbol of the bull survives as part of Spanish culture and tradition. The bull is consequently a popular character in Spanish Carnival due to its association with virility and strength.

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TITLE: Siqlla / Doctorcito
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cusco
ETHNICITY: Quechua; Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Siqlla (Doctorcito, or Little Doctor) Mask
CATALOG ID: LAPE018
MAKER: Unknown maker in Paucartambo
CEREMONY: Danza Wayra (Kuwallada)
AGE: 2011
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: plaster; paint; string

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 Wayra, also called Danza Siqlla or Siqlla, after the Quechua word for this character. The term wayra is Quechua for “wind,” probably referring to the “hot air” blown by liars; siqlla has no equivalent English word. Technically, these two dances are slight variations of each other, distinguishable by costume differences.  However, both satirize the grasping lawyers (in this context, “doctorcito” refers to a doctor of law, not a medical doctor), judges, and politicians of the town who are arrogant or abusive toward the indigenous population.

The dance is also performed throughout the Cusco region, including in Cusco itself, Pisaq, and Ollantaytambo.  It centers around a trial of an indigenous man (maqta), recited in Quechua and Spanish. The prosecutor leads the dance, followed by a mayor, lawyers, and the maqta. Most of the characters have exaggerated noses and fancy European clothes (except the maqta, who wears traditional Peruvian garb), but the lawyers are distinguished in carrying a bible and a whip.


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

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TITLE: Lunar New Year Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: China
SUBREGION: Hong Kong
ETHNICITY: Han
DESCRIPTION: Boy “Big Head” Mask
CATALOG ID: ASCN003
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Lunar New Year
FUNCTION: Celebration; Entertainment
AGE: 1950s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: gesso; paint; cotton straps

The Chinese celebrate the lunar new year with lion dances, parades, and fireworks throughout the country.  Normally, the celebration begins on new year’s eve and lasts 15 days, and it provides an opportunity for entertainment, family reunion, honoring ancestors, and planning for the coming year. In the parade, armies of “big-headed Buddhas” clad in traditional silk costumes (or their modern polyester equivalents) follow the lion dancers.  They cavort for the entertainment of the audience and to bring good fortune in the coming year. Among these masqueraders are old man and old woman characters, such as the one represented by this mask. In modern Hong Kong, this is the largest festival of the year, and includes floats and decorations throughout the city.

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TITLE: Diablo Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Latin America
COUNTRY: Peru
SUBREGION: Cuzco
ETHNICITY: Quechua and Aymara
DESCRIPTION: Diablo (Devil) Helmet Mask
CATALOG ID: LAPE030
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché; plaster
OTHER MATERIALS: wire mesh; paint

Carnival is the Catholic festival that precedes the fasting season of Lent, a period known as Shrovetide. In Peru, Carnival celebrations typically include parades of masked and costumed characters, marching or dancing to music, and street celebrations, often accompanied by water battles. Costumes portray a mix of Christian and indigenous themes with an emphasis on parody and parable. Common characters include devils, Spaniards, Moors, and angels.

While most modern Peruvian masks are made from tin, or increasingly fiberglass or plastic, this mask is made in the older style of paper maché coated with plaster.


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

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TITLE: Carnival Fantasy Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Venice
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Moon Carnival macramé mask
CATALOG ID: EUIT014
MAKER: Carta Alta, Venice
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: early 2000s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: macramé; paint; rhinestones; ribbon

During Carnival in Venice, masqueraders wear a variety of both classical and novelty masks. This mask falls in the latter category. It is made to resemble the moon and can be worn by masqueraders of either sex. By not covering the whole face, masks such as this one allow the wearer unimpeded speech and the option of eating and drinking without unmasking.

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TITLE: Paper Carnival Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: N/A
ETHNICITY: German
DESCRIPTION: Paper Carnival mask of man with monocle
CATALOG ID: EUDE012
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: ca. 1920s
MAIN MATERIAL: kraft paper
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

During the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, sluggish economies created demand for inexpensive versions of traditional Carnival masks that had previously been made from wood or thick paper maché. Enterprising companies began making disposable masks from cheaper kraft paper, hand painted by the abundant labor available due to high unemployment. This mask originates in Germany and represents a sophisticated man wearing a monocle, then fashionable.

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