Origin and meaning of the ritual masks of the Chané

Many people and ethnicies around the globe use masks as part of some traditional rituals. Their meaning is l cultures, masks have a ritual purpose.

Away from civilization, no internet access and sometimes even to the route, because is seated in a region –Campo Duran, in Salta- where in the warm months the roads became waterless, a little know community of Argentina, the Chané Indians, still perpetuating an absolutely original ancestral know how, which also it has the mission of raising awareness about the respect of nature.

In constant threat of clearing, which puts biodiversity and its livelihood at risk, keep their tradition alive, not to suffer the uprooting that afflicts most of the original communities.

The descendants of the firsts chiefs of the tribe count today, that masks are made before Carnival, in order to exorcise evils. These days, they dance all day, wearing a special mask with feathers and a woman’s face called Pim Pim, to take away all the bad energies and diseases of the place and then, they throw it into the river, in order to renew itself. The basic mission of every ritual: move from chaos to cosmos.

Since then, they continue doing them, from generation to generation. They carve them in Palo Borracho, a soft wood, they take from fallen trees (never cutting them) and paint with natural dyes they get from flowers and different stones. They work, always, asking permission to nature.

The figures? Local animals such as parrots, toucans, owls, rabbits, dogs, snakes, jaguars, tigers, birds and crocodiles, that they draw with an exceptional expertise.

With my work, I create awareness, said one of the most experienced craftsmen. My animals are a warning in itself. They transmit a message with his deep look. Protect from other animals that lives in the cities. That’s why we call them aña-aña that means good spirit”.