Toro Masks

The toro (bull) mask is the antagonist and ultimately the sacrificial victim for the choreography of the Danza de los Diablitos. The toro is a metaphor for the invading and hostile Hispanic culture that violently imposed itself on the Brunka thereby ending their cultural trajectory which, by the early 1500’s, was displaying an ever-increasing complexity. At the same time, the arrival of the European settlement signified the beginning of the terrible changes to traditional native society and the radical demographic decline that tribal groups of Costa Rica, in some degree or another, suffered. The bull mask is made from a harder wood than balsa. The expression of the bull is that of blind rage and its mounted horns are those of a real bull. The person playing the bull has to support a frame of bound saplings, made from a certain tree species, covered by gangoche (burlap sack cloth) and topped with a grass-filled sack attached to the frame – imitating an adult bull’s massive shoulders – as well as the heavy bull mask out in front used as a battering ram to rush and impact into swarming diablos.

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