The Boruca Face Masks of Costa Rica
Boruca Indians are one of four Indian tribes still in Costa Rica. They live in the mountains of Southwestern Costa Rica and survive by selling their very popular Boruca masks and weavings. The men carve these expressive masks of balsa-wood and the women are the weavers. Colors for the painting of these masks and dye for the weavings come from natural plant dyes and a terrestrial mollusk that lives on cliffs near the Terraba River delta. The families go to the beach periodically and the men scale the walls of the rocks, remove the mollusk from the rock, blow into the shell and the animals spray a dye that is collected and will be used as one of their paints. The mollusks are then returned to the rock for the next trip and we have a very conscious effort at sustainability. The Indians are not allowed to eat the mollusk meat or use the shells for ornaments and thus this practice is tolerated by Minae, the environmental watchdog.
Currently, the Boruca community is being threatened by the projected hydro electric plant planned for the area.
Tags: boruca Indians, indigenous Indian tribe, masks, natural dyes, Southern Costa Rica