Anthropological Collection


Suit of sucker jeweler typical of the Santiago Carnival. In the case of the jeweler piglet, the horns have quills. That's the simplest way to distinguish a piglet from the La Joya neighborhood. The colors are yellow, red and navy blue. The masks of the cucumber piglets do not have barbs.

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Carnival is an old ludic tradition inherited from Spain. Coming with the first Spaniards arrived in America, here is registered for the first time in the first years of the XVI century (1510-1512) in the cities of La Vega and Santo Domingo, suffering in that stage, several transformations including its prohibition due to the vulgar acts and the excesses of it, according to the colonial authorities of the time.

Of Venetian origin in Italy, it was part of old pagan festivities of the Celts and other cultures to which the Romans joined in their period of colonial expansion.

In medieval Italy, their specially designed costumes, with hoods, masks and costumes, drew the attention of the participants who struggled to present the best piece for the delight and admiration of the other participants. The mask played in those times a double meaning: as part of the disguise and to hide the personality of the person who wore it, so that if something out of the ordinary happened, as it used to happen, it would be hidden behind the mask, the face of the person.

In America, it is worth clarifying, the carnival undergoes the metamorphosis of American cultural diversity. The comparsas are in turn the synthesis of each ethnic group that is represented through them. But also, each country celebrates in its own way and with the cultural components that are inherent to them. In this sense, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, combines the greatest Carnival enthusiasm in America. Internationally known, the Brazilian carnival feeds heavily on the Afro-Brazilian heritage, starting with its music: the Zamba, linked to the Candomblés cults. In any case, the town is the protagonist and center of the encounter.

February undoubtedly is the month of Carnival, decreed by people in cities such as La Vega, Santiago, Bonao, San Francisco de Macoris, Puerto Plata, Monte Cristi, Santo Domingo, San Cristobal, Azua, among others. But also, we find the carnival in Holy Week, outside the classical scheme, which breaks the tradition and confuses specialists and the general public celebrated, in cities such as: Pedernales, Cabral, Barahona, Elías Piña, San Juan de la Maguana and Salinas de the southern region. Also the date of the Dominican national carnival coincides with the celebration of the patriotic dates for historical reasons, giving them a political or nationalistic nuance to some of their comparsas and being of high satirical content.

So contagious has been all this maremagno caused by the sudden emergence of these carnival festivities in the country, that each province has put on the agenda the creation of its carnival, not only as a distinctive feature, but as a way to attract tourists whether national or foreign towards the benefits of your region. The most recent carnivals were born like that carnamar from San Juan River or the Carnamaniel from Ocoa in the south. Not to mention that there is carnival in Baní, Salcedo, Cotuí and other cities less mentioned in this attractive subject, such as the strange and particular carnival of the community of Yerba Buena in Hato Mayor and whose mask is made with a nest of termites.

The costumesmasks and one another comparsa, they constitute the identity bases on which these provincial carnivals are distanced, existing true efforts of differentiation among the organizers, which at the same time stands as the symbol of marketing or of regional or local pride. Being the diablo the central figure of the carnival, its name, costumes and characteristics can vary from one carnival to another as we see with the mask of the devil cojuelo of the capital, different in turn from the two that distinguish Santiago, or the one that highlights the carnivalesque character De La Vega. But this mask changes in Monte Cristi, Cotuí, Cabral, Puerto Plata (with Taíno motifs) or Río San Juan (with sea motifs). The same happens with the denomination of the emblematic personage: the devil, so called in the capital and other localities, sucker in Santiago, cachúa in Cabral, bulls in Monte Cristi, Papeluses or Platanuses in Cotuí, mask of the devil in Pedernales or Tifuá in Elías Pineapple.

In the photo, a mask of our collection appears, it is used by the Carnival of Santiago which is one of the most traditional and ancient in the country. As a form of competition, the inhabitants of the popular neighborhoods of Santiago, La Joya and Los Pepines, differentiated their way of participating in this carnival from the styles and designs of their masks. As shown by the piece exhibited by us, this mask is representative of the neighborhood of La Joya and as we can see, it is defined by two pieces and in each, with a multiplicity of barbs in the shape of spines, which give it a great color.

Painted on the basis of red, yellow, blue, white and navy blue, the mask is a true carnival symbol and a work of popular art. Opposed to it is the mask of the neighborhood Los Pepines, which is made based on two pieces, closer to conventional forms; always using zoomorphic figures. Its manufacture is made with mud, papier mache, starch and newspaper, becoming a true specialized craft tradition.


- Eduardo León Jimenes Cultural Center. Fradique Lizardo Barinas. 1930-1937 and the Dominican carnival 2003.

- Del Castillo, José; García Arévalo, Manuel. Carnival in Santo Domingo. Friend of the Home 1987

- Guerrero, José. Carnival, Lent and national dates. Editor of Magazines. 2003

- Tejeda Ortiz, Dagoberto; Domínguez, Iván and Castillo, José. Dominican folkloric calendar. Leon Jimenes Group. Dominican Institute of Folklore. 2000

Carnival carnivals. National Carnival Commission. Dominican Institute of Folklore. 2003

- Valdez, Pedro Antonio. History of the Vegan Carnival. Ediciones Hojarasca. 1995

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Last modified on Friday, September 20 2013 17: 43
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