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A look inside ‘Masks, the different faces of the soul'—La Paz’s illuminating exhibition showcasing Bolivian carnival & death masks

The Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in Bolivia’s capital city, La Paz, houses one of the most fascinating exhibitions I visited during my four months in South America. ‘Masks, the different faces of the soul’, features hundreds of bright, chaotic and crazy masks, many that are kind of eerie, yet all creative and brilliantly beautiful. 

If you’ve travelled to Bolivia you’ll know that festivals and carnivals make up a huge part of day-to-day life, I witnessed one of the most colourful street festivals in La Paz and the strange but fun religious ceremonies of Copacabana, both of which had incredible masks and outrageous costumes. 

These masks allow performers to take on another persona and are incredibly detailed, often carved from wood or cut from coloured metal and decorated with ribbons or gemstones. Here are a few of my favourites from the exhibition…

llama carnival mask la paz bolivia

big eyes carnival mask la paz bolivia

big eyes and eyelashes mask boy la paz bolivia

scary devil mask la paz bolivia

blue silver scary crazy mask la paz bolivia

red hair horn devil mask la paz bolivia

green and red big mouth mask la paz bolivia

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