Thursday, July 7, 2011


Now here's a nice Morion mask I found in my fave Plaridel antique haunt. Masks like this are used during the annual Moriones Festival in Marinduque, in which people, masked and garbed like Roman soldiers, participate in the unique Lenten rites, culminating in the search for Longinus.

The masks, which are fine examples of folk art, are carved out of Dapdap wood by local sculptors (who also sculpt religious statues) although some are done in papier maché. Painted red or pink, they almost always show a stern expression, with wide, staring eyes, large noses, black beard and open mouth. The turbante, or headgear, mimics that of a Roman centurion's helmet. This particular example is made from wood and raffia brush. When finished, a mask may weigh about 2 kilograms. A new Morion mask is priced at an average Php3,500, but I was lucky to get this for just half the price.

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