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This traditional Boruca devil mask is a guardian against evil and the cure for bland decor. Artisan Victor Hernandez hand carves the balsa wood mask with a green and blue face and beard, and horns and eyebrows in yellow and orange. The open mouth reveals large, ferocious fangs. The artisan hand-paints details in a variety of contrasting colors. Brass eyelets and an agave cord are attached to the back for easy hanging.
The Boruca people live in southwestern Costa Rica. Devil masks are part of a centuries-old festival called "The Game of the Devils," honoring the Boruca's fight to defend their land from invading Spaniards. During the festival, the masked actors portray defenders fighting a bull, representing Spain. The bull is a large costume that takes about ten men to maneuver. Victor Hernandez learned the art of Boruca mask carving at the side of his father.