This mask is worn during the festival in Paucartambo celebrating the Virgin del Carmen in a dance called “chukchu.” The masks used in this dance are of plaster or paper and may be white or yellow. The dance has three different types of characters: a doctor, nurses, and those suffering from tropical diseases. This particular mask is of a character called “el chukchu,” representing laborers from highland Paucartambo communities that worked on haciendas in jungle valleys where they contracted yellow fever and other tropical diseases.
Many consider this dance to reflect the historical reality of the Paucartambo poor that worked in rubber extraction on the Q’usñipata haciendas during the early 21st century with dreams of progress. Today, this dance has been expanded to also represent other diseases such as cancer and AIDS.