Yannick Cormier

The figures are essentially ambiguous, at the crossroads of nature and culture.

In many parts of Europe and especially in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, and the Basque Country), archaic and mysterious figures regularly haunt carnival rites since the Middle Ages (but referring, according to some specialists like A. Darpeix, member of the historical and archaeological society of Perigord, to a distant shamanic and Neolithic antiquity). They are masks adorned with skins of animals, vegetables, and straw, surrounded by bells and bones, often crowned with horns and pieces of wood. Thus arises the wild man within modern paganism to symbolize the rebirth of nature emerging from winter. The figures are essentially ambiguous, at the crossroads of nature and culture. The masks always speak of the mysteries of existence: in traditional societies, they were or still are the figures of ancestors and spirits of the dead, that of protective or evil spirits.


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