Festival Masks of the Andes

Appropriate for grades: K - 12
Subject areas: History and Social Studies Visual and Performing Arts

Andeans have an ancient tradition of performing dances and dramas wearing masquerades. In the sixteenth century, Spanish priests and colonists imposed new forms of masked performances for the Indians to carry out during Catholic feast days. Participants were instructed to wear costumes and masks that impersonated the Europeans. This practice continued through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but since the post-Independence era of the nineteenth century, Indian and mestizo communities have had greater freedom to carry out their own forms of festival masquerading. Following styles established in colonial times, most of the costumes and performances still impersonate Europeans and Spanish colonists. However, dancers are able to make fun of their former oppressors in an open manner. Spanish Language Version

Teaching / Learning Goals:

Teachers and students will …


  • Learn about how masks are an important part of celebrations in the Andean region (historical and cultural understanding).
  • Recognize the different types of masks in the Andes and the characters that they convey (perceiving analyzing and responding).
  • Find different ways to construct a mask by using a variety of materials and by exploring line, color, shape and form (creating and performing).

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