• 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…

  • Caribbean

    Panama Diablo mask

    Q:  I have a mask from Panama which a think is a Diablo Carnival mask which was purchased at the market in Valle de Anton about 4 years ago.  I would like to have it appraised and possibly sell it. Thank you,  Linda, 1075 A: There are several towns in Panama where fabulous masks, mostly Devils, are paraded at Carnival. They are made by talented artists who work with papier mache and colorful paint. There was always a strong Caribbean influence on these masks as your can see by going to our archives or Google. But this one seems to be more like an Austrian Krampus. I guess the old…

  • Caribbean

    Wild Panama Devil mask

    Our new book, Masks of the World, is divided into 14 categories of masks. In chapters on Africa, India & Himalayas, East Asia, etc. you can easily picture the area we’re dealing with. Our Caribbean chapter covers a lot more territory than the name implies. I have found that masquerade of the Northern edge of South America and some of Central America is strongly influenced by the Caribbean. And why not? These large areas surrounding the sea are heavily populated by the same African/Spanish/Indian cultures as the islands. This wild and crazy mask is from Portobelo, Panama, which is located on the east shoreline facing the Caribbean Sea.  Bob, 1071…

  • Caribbean

    The fabulous Vejigante

    Q:  Apologies for attaching incorrect photos. Here are jpegs of the the front, back and side of the mask. Please tell me whatever you can about this beautiful mask. Thank you.  Marcey, 1047 A:  Vejigantes are from Ponce, Puero Rico, and are among the most creative masks used for carnival parades around the world. This one was done by Miguel Caraballo. A larger one is shown on post #745. The Vejigante represents the evil Moors who battled St. James in Spain hundreds of years ago. Its design and colors are more African than European, which demonstrates the influence of blacks in the Caribbean.  A- Save

  • Caribbean

    Elaborate Dominican masks

    The Carnival occurs every weekend in February in the town of La Vega.  The Dominican carnivals are supposed to be the first ones celebrated in the New World (even predating the more famous ones in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro). La Vega is the third biggest city in the Dominican Republic with a long history dating back to the time of Christopher Columbus.  The first Dominican Carnival goes back to the 16th century.  The Spanish would let their slaves have some fun for a day.  The Spanish, however, were very religious and needed the festival to have some sort of religious significance so it became a battle of good…

  • Caribbean

    Coconut mask from Puerto Rico

    This is a Vejigante mask made out of a whole coconut husk in the city of Loiza, PR. (The nut has been removed from these large masks.) Many of the people who live there are of Nigerian decent. So the style of these masks is mostly influenced by the Chango warriors of West Africa, rather than the Catholic Church. There are Vegigante masks made in Ponce, PR, for the same celebration of St. James, but are made out of papier mache and look much different. This will go in the Caribbean category, which is the smallest on MasksoftheWorld.com. This category includes all of the islands plus the northern coastal areas…

  • Caribbean

    Diablico Sucio carnival mask

    Q: This is a very large mask, made from paper. It has horse teeth and screens where the eye holes are. I think it is Mexican, but do not know where in Mexico it was made. I would like to find out more information about this mask. I do not remember where I bought it. I usually haunt thrift shops and flea markets. Mickey, 852

  • Caribbean

    Big mask from Puerto Rico

    Q:  I have inherited one large signed Caraballo and two small Caraballo, Jr. Vejigante masks.  The father’s mask is dated 1986 and the 2 by Jr. are dated 1987.  I am in the market to sell them and I have detailed pictures which I can forward if you give me an email address.  Robert, 745 A:  This is a parade-size Vejigante made by Miguel Caraballo of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

  • Caribbean

    Boruca mask in need of fix up

    Q:  Another mask found in a flea market– really well carved and sanded, unpainted, with eyes holes, so it could be worn, though uncomfortably as there is no place for nose. Just curious about its provenance. Looks Native American to me. The wood is tight grained and a soft brown color. I am stumped. Can you help?  Paule, 720 A:  This is a Devil mask from the Boruca (Borunca, Brunka), a small culture located in southwestern Costa Rica.

  • Caribbean

    I call this Caribbean

    Q:  33 inches, painted paper mache believe to be from South America. Got it from a friend as a gift. Had a horn off the top of the head but is missing. The outer horn looks like it was to fit inside another horn that is still inside the mask. Mask is large enough to fit over your head. Can you give approx. value and let us know if this is something we should hold onto?  George, 688 A: From Panama, the people who make these big papier mache Diablico Sucio masks are obviously influenced by the Caribbean, and this is true of other parts of Central America as well