WOODEN ANIMAL HEADS

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Brighten your walls with our handcrafted wooden animal heads.

The tradition behind the masks

These colorful wooden Animal Heads are handcrafted in Galapa, a small village near Barranquilla, on the Atlantic coast of Colombia. A group of carefully selected local craftsmen and women carve them out of Red Ceiba wood. The masks are afterwards painted with acrylic.

They represent the emblematic element of Barranquilla’s Carnival. This is the most renown folkloric and cultural event of Colombian. It is also one of the oldest: it has been taking place in the city for more than 140 years. In 2003, the UNESCO declared Barranquilla’s Carnival to be part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

These animal heads come from the black chapters of Colombia’s colonial History. Indeed, African slaves brought to the region the tradition of their ritual masks. They were associated with totemism, hunting and harvest rituals. Later, these African rituals joined in the form of a warrior dance called the dance of the Congos, the European festivities. Some of the animals of the region replaced the fauna of African origin.

Toro Miura workshop

Carving and decorating these masks is one of the main and most traditional economic activities of the village of Galapa.

When Manuel Pertuz was a teenager, he saw his father carving a wooden head out of a piece of wood he had just cut. Passionate with drawing and painting, he decided to learn from his father and combine the sculpture of animal head with the vivid colors of Barranquilla’s Carnival. A few years later, the handcrafted workshop Toro Miura was born, and today employs 9 craftsmen and women.

In 1997 the ICONTEC and the UNESCO certified the quality of his work. They also elected him as one of the five best artisans of Colombia.

Each wooden mask is totally handmade and thus unique. Therefore, you may find slight variations or imperfections.

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