This mask – a Brunka tribal spirit mask– alludes to the transformed durij (shaman) into his ‘alter-ego’. The shaman can mystically possess incredible endurance and strength, is a healer, but also, the durij can send animals, or spirits, to punish those who break tribal taboo. This design, carved in beautifully aged and stressed ronron hard wood, is called a diablito mask in Spanish. In the ‘choreography’ of the juego, these masked ceremonial participants represent the Brunka people themselves, aboriginal people of the southern Pacific Coast watershed of Costa Rica, for this venerable, annually celebrated ceremony.
This mask is hand carved in the neo-tropical hardwood called ronron and worn during the 3 days of the danza in Rey Curre village, Costa Rica (Danza de los Diablitos).
The Brunka have been carving such masks going back centuries, the faces of which are, at times, frightening, simply grotesque, animal naguals, or infra-human – representing how the non-Christian natives repulsed many of the European newcomers intent on controlling and taming los indios (indians).
Note: valuable context images of this mask being worn in the 2019-20 danza available.
- Tribe: Brunka (Boruca)
- Size: 13 1/2″ x 15″ (34.5 x 38 cm)
- Artist: W. Gonzalez