Hand carved from local balsa wood and painted – in essence, this mask plays the role of a defending ancestor – a jaguar warrior. The traditional notion of a nagual – of an animal alter-ego – in this case the mighty jaguar is clearly the main feature of this mask design. This select group of men of these two villages, Boruca and Rey Curre, through their masks and vestment/jewellry, represent ancestral spirits, historic leaders as well as the spirits of natural elements and animals important to Brunka history, cosmology and legend. Worn in this highly animated and, at times, physically brusque, traditional event the Danza/Juego de los Diablitos, it is a figurative mask, the imagery speaks of the Brunka peoples’ pre-European past and present day as they struggle on to determine their own future.
The Brunka depict themselves through such personages known through the diablito masks, as this one is, in a wonderful exploration of the, now, very sophisticated carving aesthetic of today, plus the mysterious expressions of these visages started by their mask making predecessors.
- Tribe: Brunka (Boruca)
- Size: 11″ x 17 3/4” (28 x 45.5 cm)
- Artist: Alberto Leiva