Friday, February 20, 2009

Masks of the Borucan Indians

On Wednesday the 18th I was fortunate to get the last seat available, on a bus trip to the Flower and Garden show in Seattle. One exhibit showed the beautiful art masks of the Borucan Indians of Costa Rica.

These brightly-painted masks are carved from a single piece of locally grown cedar or balsa wood, and represent the brilliant flora and fauna of the Costa Rican forests.


The outline of the animals or plants of the masks is drawn on a piece of balsa wood.
Each mask usually includes the face of a Borucan shaman or forest protector, surrounded by orchids, birds-of-paradise, neon-colored frogs, exotic toucans and quetzal birds, and often a jaguar. After the objects are sketched, they are roughed out and then more finely carved, with every piece rendered in 3D.

It takes about a week to make one mask.

Mask-making among the Boruca predates the Spanish Conquest. The art form evolved with mask-making to celebrate "Danza de Los Diablitos" or Dance of the Devils, representing a stylized battle against European invaders in which the Boruca emerge victorious.

The ancient craft, however, was dying until one master carver, Ismael Gonzalez Lazaro, began a program to teach the techniques to younger members. Soon, the young carvers began filling out their masks with the beautiful plants and animals thatsurround them, and thus was born the hybrid "masca ecologia" -- ecological mask

I would have bought one, two or possibly more of these beautiful works of art, but sadly the were way out of my price range. The cost for a 12 inch mask was around $450. perhaps when I win the lotto *grin*

1 comment:

Mediterranean kiwi said...

really colourful - i love them