• Caribbean

    Where does this mask come from?

    It comes from the Yare people of Northern Venezuela, close to the Caribbean sea. They were brought here as slaves and are of African descent, as are almost all Caribbeans. You can see this African influence in their music, dance, costumes and masks. Most Yare masks are made of papier mache and lots of colorful paint. This one is a typical parade mask from the Devils of Yare. In this folkloric festival, devotion is given to the patron saint Saint Francis of Paola, to the Blessed Sacrament and to Jesus Christ. The celebration starts Wednesday with a wake where fulías (a native music style) are played, décimas (native form of…

  • Caribbean

    Haitian masks of wood, metal

    Most Haitian masks are made of papier mache and painted. You can see some of them in the “Caribbean Category” of our archives. Ordinary people can afford some them for carnivals and other ceremonies. More expensive masks are made of steel taken from the side of oil barrels, same as the famous steel drums used by Haitian musicians. One of the masks shown here is steel. Almost all these are decorative and sold to the tourist trade. Others are carved wood and much older. Within the African Diaspora, Haitian culture is known for its strong connection to Yoruba, Congo, and other Cross river cultures which, over centuries, combined with influences…

  • Caribbean

    Junkanoo mask from the Bahamas

    This Junkanoo celebration is a distinctly Bahamian combination of colorful handmade masks, costumes, cow bells, horns, and rhythmic goat-skin drums pounding out a steady island beat. We have in our Caribbean Category a photo from Jamaica showing a different approach to Junkanoo. Separated by Cuba and miles of sea water, you can see why they are different. Like so many masks and costumes from the region, they are influenced by African artistic traditions. That is a Bahamian boy marching in a young peoples band. A lot of time went into making that costume. Could you make something like that for your kid!

  • Caribbean

    Devil mask from northern Venezuela

    Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi refers to a set of popular Venezuelan religious festivals held on Corpus Christi, celebrating the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It generally refers to the practices of 11 brotherhoods in various regions, which include more than 5,000 people who are of African decent. (There are almost a million blacks living in Venezuela.) The Dancing Devils was recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012. As you can see, Yare folk art is more like that from the Caribbean islands than anywhere else, i.e. papier mache monsters painted in bright colors. 1387

  • Caribbean

    Puerto Rican art mask

    This is a beautifully papier mache Vejigante mask that is too expensive to wear in a Ponce or San Juan carnival. It’s made for serious mask and art collectors. From an anthropological standpoint it certainly demonstrates the wonderful influence African culture had on modern Caribbean foik art. Please enlarge and look at the detail.                         v

  • Caribbean

    4 Jamaican Jonkonnu dancers

    John Canoe or Jonkonnu (pigeon English) has a very long tradition as a folk festival, incorporating both African and European forms. The Jonkonnu Festival is secular in nature and its performance at Christmas time is merely historical. From as early as the beginning of the 18th century masked and costumed performers have paraded the streets of Jamaica most often at Christmas time, but also at state functions, receiving money and food in return for their performances.These photos look very African to me.

  • Caribbean

    Boruca monkey mask

    Aaron has added several Boruca masks to his wonderful collection. This one looks like a capuchin monkey and is quite unusual. If you are unfamiliar with his website, you should check it out. TITLE: Boruca Diablo-Mono GENERAL REGION: Latin America COUNTRY: Costa Rica SUBREGION: Reserva Rey Curré, Puntarenas ETHNICITY: Boruca DESCRIPTION: Diablo-Mono (Devil-Monkey) Mask MAKER: Hermes Morales, Rey Curré CEREMONY: Fiesta de los Diablitos AGE: 2009 MAIN MATERIAL: balsa wood OTHER MATERIALS: red pigment from achiote berry; black pigment from wood ash; white pigment from kaolin clay The Boruca people mostly inhabit two reservations in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Technically, many persons classified as Boruca are members of…

  • Caribbean

    Haitian masks are not expensive

    Besides being known as a beautiful, colonial beach side town, Jacmel is one of the leading producers of papier-mâché in all of Haiti. In fact, this dazzling town of about 40,000 residents is famous for its arts and has dozens of studios and shops where papier-mâché is made, sold and celebrated especially during Haiti’s Carnival, which is pre-Lenten and was introduced to the African slaves who worked in cane fields and sugar factories many years ago. Now would be a good time to visit Jacmel.  Bob,1287  B+  

  • Caribbean

    3 Vejigantes from Puerto Rico

    I just found this photo of three papier mache masks which are worn by Puerto Rican marchers at carnival time. They are decorated differently and obviously made by the same guy. You can see more typical Vejigantes by going to the Caribbean Category on this site. I live in downtown Lancaster, PA, which has a large population of Puerto Ricans living within walking distance of me, but these three masks were photographed on the island… a great place for masquerade.  1205

  • Caribbean

    The Vejigantes steal the show in Ponce, PR.

    With the exception of a few other Caribbean islands, this spectacular type of Devil mask is unique in the world of mask design. Even though these masks have a long snout and lots of big horns, they are made of paper mache which is light weight and comfortable to wear. Vejigantes characters carry blown-up cow bladders with which they make sounds and hit people throughout the processions. The crazy antics of these guys make them the most popular feature at the parades and other events. The Carnaval de Ponce is an annual celebration that lasts one week and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday. Thus, it is generally held…