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Costa Rican Indigenous Masks

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Welcome graphic

My name is Julio Cesar Maroto Sanchez. I come from a small indigenous town called Boruca in Costa Rica. My town has a long history of mask makers and indigenous culture. I have been here in the United States since September 15, 2004. I am interested in sharing my culture with as many people as I can.

These traditional masks were first made for a festival called el baile de los diablitos (dance of the little devils). The baile de los diablitos acts out the Spanish conquest of Boruca hundreds of years ago. Los diablitos represent the native people, who wear masks and burlap bags and fight with the bull, representing Spain (a person wearing a burlap box with a mask of a bull attatched). This festival goes on at the end of December for three days. One the third day the Spaniards defeat the natives. However, the natives rise up and they win in the end. This represents that we will always keep our culture alive.
Originally these masks were made only once a year for these festivals, but around sixteen years ago, my teacher, Ishmael , began teaching the art of maskmaking to the young men of the town.  Since then, the art of mask making has changed and evolved, and are made all year round. The masks are now detailed and colorful and include animals and vegetation that are native to the mountains of Boruca.  

El Baile de los Diablitos


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