2002.017.0070-73.tif_This mask is from a costume for La Morenada, one of the most popular Bolivian Highland dances. Each year the people of Oruro put on the largest cultural event in Bolivia, El Carnaval de Oruro, with almost 40,000 dancers and musicians participating. There are a number of theories about the origins of the dance; the most common is that it was inspired by the treatment and suffering of African slaves brought to Bolivia to work in the silver mines of Potosí.

This mask is primarily made of forged tin. It is a depreciatory characterization of a Spaniard, who is seen in the dance leading African slaves. His face is outlined in gold painted beads, and his beard is made of black horsehair. Attached to his crown are three plastic weave feathers in yellow, white, and red.

Credit:  Gift of Tom and Adele Davies
Location:  Oruro, Bolivia
Culture/Age:  Aymara; Late 20th Century