This unique ‘eco-mask’ – “sloth protector” – really gives a sense of the light and array of foliage of the deep neo-tropical forest. The painting is most delicate and the carved elements realistically rendered. This piece can be seen as natural vinette of 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 lower central part of this piece 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.
- Tribe: Brunka (Boruca)
- Size: 8 1/2” wide x 14 3/4″ (21.5 x 38 cm)
- Artist: German Morales/Bernardo Gonzalez