Caraquena de Chuao Decorative Mask
This stunning mask takes inspiration from those used in the Dancing Devils Festival held yearly during the Corpus Christi feast in Venezuela’s coastal regions. Hand shaped and painted, this piece is part of a collection made by the Caraquena de Chuao workshop in Caracas – looking as great on a wall as on a sideboard or table. This piece is unique.
9.84 x 5.28 x 0.98 inches
Black, White and Red
Caraquena de Chuao
This Caraquena de Chuao decorative mask comes from a collection of masks and pots created by Caraqueña de Chuao, a workshop project in Caracas. Caraqueña de Chuao is the creation of Justine, a talented young designer, social activist and ceramicist. She has worked extensively with members of Venezuela’s indigenous Chuao culture. As a result, she set up this project. Unique, hand shaped and hand painted, this versatile piece looks great on a wall, a sideboard or a table.
This handmade piece takes inspiration from the annual Dancing Devils festival celebrated by the Chuao. This colorful event involves feasting, dancing and some fascinating explorations of the local concepts of the sacred and the profane. Groups of men and boys wear devil masks whilst dancing backwards, making way for a priest bearing the blessed sacrament. Their dancing symbolizes penitence for sins. Meanwhile, musicians play indigenous string and percussion instruments, and everybody carries maracas to ward off evil spirits. Finally, as the celebrations reach their climax, the dancing devils surrender to the priest and his sacrament. This powerful conclusion symbolizes the victory of good over evil.
Each mask is unique, with families passing designs down through the generations. As a result, each mask tells a rich story of the wearer and their background.
Justine has visited the festival many times, and loves the costumes of the dancers. In particular, she’s fascinated by the powerful aesthetics of the masks they wear. This power is due, in part, to the indigenous designers only using three colors: red, black and white. Justine reinterprets these masks as she makes each piece. She doesn’t sketch her work before creating it, preferring to allow the clay to speak for itself.
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