This mask, known as the “qhapaq negro,” is worn during the festival in Paucartambo celebrating the Virgin del Carmen. In the dance of the qhapaq negro, black slaves from colonial times are remembered. According to oral tradition, many of these slaves were brought from the coast and the Bolivia region to Paucartambo where they worked in gold and silver mines. It is said that these slaves brought their devotion to the Virgen del Carmen from Lima, where they first learned to worship her.
In the songs of the qhapaq negro, which are interpreted in both Quechua and Spanish, both their suffering as slaves and devotion to the Virgen del Carmen are recounted.