The masked diablito jugadores (‘demon’ dancers or players in Spanish) have always symbolized the Brunka people themselves in this venerable tribal ceremony – one in which this mask was used during the three day duration of this event in Boruca village – an indigenous reservation in the southern Pacific watershed of Costa Rica. Besides the more typical ‘demon’ faces among the traditional masks, other mask themes are observed being worn, such as: local wildlife and human historical/legendary ancestors (such as this mask).
The mask maker of this piece has acheived an amazing surface transcending the mask’s material: carved balsa wood. It’s realism is uncanny. This powerful chieftain mask is a depiction of a regal ancestor with gold accoutrements and a feathered headdress and earrings of local bird species. This evocative used mask, once put on by the wearer, really transforms the jugador (masked ‘player”) into this mythical/historic entity. This tribal mask, was worn as part of the Danza de los Diablitos of 2022-2023 in the village of Boruca.
- Tribe: Boruca (Brunka)
- Size: 13″ x 24″
- Artist: Paco Lazaro