These elaborate and nearly narrative ‘ecological-cultural masks’ are an evolution emerging from the traditional Brunka ceremonial masks. Carved from the same wood species (balsa wood and tropical cedar) used for the tribal masks, these fine ‘primitive’ art pieces are reminiscent of story boards, at times, allowing these traditional mask artists to render scenes of landscapes, flora and fauna of the tribe’s territory, as well as scenes from their native legends, cosmology and Pre-Coumbian past. A variety of these unique wall art masks offer different scenes of their centuries-old, annual ceremony the Danza de los Diablitos.
This particular carved and painted balsa wood mask features two very special aspects of a sacred animal: kurá (jaguar/black panther) – residents of Brunka territory in the southern Pacific coast watershed of Costa Rica. An alusion to the dirunal and nocturnal realms, this is essentially a split-mask design with the uniting kák (sun) motif on the forehead.