South America

Very old Diablo Umo

Ecuadorian Indians
Ecuadorian Indians

Q:  Any ideas? The blue mask has what looks like a date 1957. They were well used. There is a moth eaten felt pad at the inside top to make wearing easier. I have no ideas.
Thanks, Gary, 700

A:  The Diablo Umo fabric mask is a classic from the Quechua-speaking people of Ecuador.  Worn by dancers during the Inti Rymi celebration of the summer solstice, these masks slip over the head and have 2 sides so the dancer can never be surprised by the devil. Dancing begins the night of the summer solstice and continues until the dancers drop from exhaustion. After a brief rest and more drink, the dancing continues. Unlike carved wood masks, Diablo Umos are rarely sold to tourists and are hard for collectors to find. Finding one that is over 50 years old, an in good condition, is quite extraordinary.  A


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