This most unique ‘mask’ is quite complex in its composition. Essentially, it is a homage to the “mating season” – tied to the oncoming rainy season in Brunka territory which historically extends from the Quepos area in the north down along the Pacific watershed right into a part of today’s Chiriquí region of Panama and of course includes the Osa and Burica Peninsulas in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.
Brunka tribal mask designs, such as this rainforest habitat design, are very elaborate and almost narrative ecological-cultural collection pieces -an evolution emerging from the traditional Brunka ceremonial masks. One’s eyes are drawn inevitably to the bottom centre where the “mask” part of this ‘eco-mask’ is featured. Here we have the typically central ancestor ‘spirit’ visage creating a mystical union with his surroundings – an oft-explored theme in the Brunka mask arts tradition.
Carved from the same wood species (balsa wood and tropical cedar) used for the worn ceremonial masks, these fine art pieces are reminiscent of story boards allowing the mask artists to render scenes of the landscapes, flora and fauna of the Brunka tribe’s territory, as well as scenes from their native legends, cosmology and Pre-Hispanic past.