Jukumari, Musée du quai Branly, Paris. Photo by Alistair Gentry.
Final selection of bizarre, beautiful costumes from the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. The museum’s text:
The Andean “bespectacled” bear, the Jukumari, lives at different ecological levels of the Andean cordilera. For this reason he is seen as a mediator between different entities, god-like and human, or different human groups. He is present in several dances from the Andes in Bolivia, in particular the Diablada and the the Morenada. In the Diablada he has a playful role: he is the character that chats and interacts with the public. The Jukumari evolved into a polar bear.
No kidding. Other additions in the category of artistic license include the dainty yellow hanky (er… don’t look up hanky codes if you don’t know what they are already. You’re OK not knowing), the strings of pearls (stop it), the bat face, and the epaulettes. Epaulettes on a bear are definitely fabulous, but a real spectacled bear looks like this:
He does not care in the slightest about epaulettes, silk hankies, gold braiding or sequins. He will bite your face off if you attempt to style him in any manner whatsoever. Jukumari, on the other paw, is into all of the aforementioned and more, nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean?
Ñaupa Diablo, Musée du quai Branly, Paris. Photo by Alistair Gentry.
More excellent masks from the Musée du quai Branly in Paris… and these ones come with splendid matching outfits. In the previous post on this subject, there was an early twentieth century carnival mask from Oruro, Bolivia. This time I have some relatively modern masks and costumes from the same carnival for you. All the photographs are mine. Here’s a translation of the museum’s blurb:
Performed during the carnival in the mining town of Oruro, the Diablada dance fuses Catholic and indigenous beliefs, depicting Lucifer escorted by a legion of male and female demons, and the Archangel Michael as the leader of the angel host. The characters in the dance are derived from the Catholic religion’s struggle between good and evil, which ends in the victory of the angels. However, in this dance, the “devil” in all his forms (Lucifer, his variant Ñaupa Diablo, his wife China Supay, and male and female devils) incarnates a positive force, linked to the Amerindian underworld divinity Supay, the giver of gifts.
The devil has all the best clothes and all the best tunes. I love these costumes. Maybe not for casual daywear, though. I’m not sure how I’d integrate sequinned breastplates, huge twisted horns and this much gold braiding with the rest of my wardrobe.
Final selection from the book Masks: Masterpieces from the musée du quai Branly. I apologise for the Devil Son mask I showed you last time. Hopefully you’ve recovered now. How about a sort-of cute tiger?
Lacquered wood mask of a tiger, State of Guerrero, Mexico, circa 1970.
This mask was made using the rayado technique. Two layers of lacquer are superimposed, then one is partially removed to produce this two-tone effect. If you look closely you’ll see that the markings aren’t random; they form the shapes of birds, rabbits, deer and other animals.
Plaster and cloth moreno mask from Oruro, Bolivia, early 20th century.
Moreno masks represent the exhausted, sickly African slaves who worked in the plantations and mines of Bolivia. They’re worn during the mining city of Oruro’s carnival. The masks, I mean. Not Africans.
“You’re my wife now”
Some of the more unnerving examples from the book Masks: Masterpieces from the musée du quai Branly. (previous post here)
Wooden mask, carved by a shaman in Nepal. The original caption says it verges on abstraction, but it also verges on bloody terrifying.
Wooden mask from Java, 19th century. This fellow is probably Klana Sewandana, the hero’s rival in wayang topeng plays.
O hai, it’s only me, the Devil’s son. Just carry on. I’m made of cloth, goat hair and somebody’s teeth. I come from Mexico.
Ammassalimiut (Greenland) fur mask for a child, associated with Christian Epiphany celebrations. Because nothing says “Jesus” more than hideous slit mouths and inky black eyes, obviously. 1920s-1930s.