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Carnival Mask - Artifact
Although introduced by Spanish settlers, the island's carnival celebrations, like mask making, music, and public performance, have developed into uniquely Puerto Rican traditions that also reflect the customs and sensibilities of Puerto Ricans' African ancestors. This carnival mask pictured here was made by Félix Vázquez. Its comical eyelashes are complimented by a set of teeth that once belonged to a horse or donkey.
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER
Carnival Mask - Artifact
Carnival celebrations featuring performers dressed as devils are found in Puerto Rico and the rest Latin America. The presence of these characters during Carnival is understood by many as an ancient reference to the contest between good and evil. The devilish mask pictured here was made for the carnaval de Ponce. Its collector, Teodoro Vidal, played a key role in publicizing the Ponce carnival and documenting its traditions of mask making and public performance.
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER
Carnival Mask - Artifact
This elaborate mask, made around 1980, is painted in red and black, the colors of the city of Ponce. Masks like this are typically worn by young men from the neighborhood, who don the costume of a vejigante, a character who roams the streets during Carnival, playfully scaring children and other revelers, and swatting them with vejigas (balloon-like, inflated animal bladders).
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER
Carnival Mask - Artifact
Mask maker Antonio Muñiz has added the horns of a traditional carnaval de Ponce mask (usually representing a devilish face) to a gorilla. This papier-mâché mask has an articulated jaw and a vinyl tongue.
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER
Carnival Costume - Artifact
This homemade costume was made for the Ponce carnival. It has a cape attached at the neck made from the same black and red striped fabric (black and red are the colors of the city of Ponce). Carnival participants who wear costumes like this one, in addition to a mask, and other carnival accoutrements like matching shoes, canes, and gloves, are called vejigantes. Vejigantes are famous for playfully swatting at carnival-goers with a vejiga, a dried, inflated bladder. When a real animal bladder in not available, an empty water bottle is an acceptable substitute.
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER
Carnival Mask - Artifact
This papier-mâché mask was made by Miguel Caraballo in 1985. Masks like this are typically worn by young men from the neighborhood, who don the costume of a vejigante, a character who roams the streets during Carnival, playfully scaring children and other revelers, and swatting them with vejigas (balloon-like, inflated animal bladders).
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER
Carnival Mask - Artifact
Carnival celebrations featuring performers dressed as devils are found across Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America. The presence of these characters during Carnival is understood by many as an ancient reference to the contest between good and evil. This devilish mask shows the characteristic style of its maker, Leonardo Pagán. Born in 1929, Pagán was the student of a renowned mask maker, Juan Careta, who worked from the 1890s until the 1950s. After his mentor's death, Pagán masks became highly prized. Pagán died in 2000.
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february 2012 by VEJIGANTE_MASQUERADER

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