Masks form a significant part of Bolivian folklore, through important cultural traditions dating back to pre-Hispanic times. In contemporary Bolivia, masks play a pivotal role in rituals, as they have deep connotations related to Bolivia’s ancestors (Auqui, Auqui, Achachila, Anas), gods & mythical beings (Hell, Jukumaris, Danzantis, etc), and animals (Bear, Tamucumiras, Deer).
These masks represent the different faces of the collective soul and have the potential to lead to the threshold of the intangible, magical, creative, metaphorical and impalpable world.
Deeply rooted in Bolivian nature, they are seen to have magnificent strength for the individual and collective.
Through the use of these masks ancient societies were able to communicate with various deities and cohesive group identities; where masked shamans and priests could give instructions to go to war.
In Bolivia, masks are not only part of rites for rural indigenous cultures, but also in urban expressions to show the extroversion of enormous social energy generated in intercultural social events, such as religious festivities across the country. Some of them, like, Oruro Carnival, declared a “masterpiece of intangible heritage of mankind. “
Inès Prévot is a photographer based in Paris, France.