The 2011 AAA Photo Contest is a showcase of anthropology at its best. Of the 93 photos submitted, AAA members selected their favorites in each of the four categories: Practice, People, Place and Process. You can view the top 20 photos in Anthropology News. Here on the AAA blog, we will feature several of the photos in a blog series, Photo Friday.
Title: Behind the Masks, Qoyllur Rit’i Pilgrimage
Photo Courtesy of Andrea M Heckman
Contest Category: Practice
Caption: Dancers spend a year preparing by sewing sequins and adornment on their costumes to catch the sun’s light, and are judged by the quality, weight, and cost of their costumes as well as the symbolic significance of the designs. As these unmasked supporters walk side by side with the dancers, it is clear how the masked dancers take on another persona, an identity linked to myth and tradition. The stories are lived anew each year by the dancers and for that period of ritual time and space, they become the mythical beings by staying in costume and masked for the duration of the pilgrimage. Many dancers learn to dance when children and participate for long periods of their lives.
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