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Le masque de la raie

Étude ethno-astronomique de l’iconographie d’un masque rituel miraña
Dimitri Karadimas
p. 173-204


Skate's Mask. An Ethno-astronomical Study of the Iconography of a Mask used in Miraña Ceremonies. -- During an equinoctial ceremony among the Miraña in the Amazonian region of Colombia, animal spirits are invited to come share a fermented drink prepared with peach-palm nuts. The main part in this ceremony commemorates a mythical sequence with two major characters, Sun of the Middle and Skate Ray, the rulers of animals and fish respectively. The masks representing various animal species are usually realistic, except for Skate's. In combination with its basis in myths, this mask's iconography takes on special meaning when related to certain astronomical conjunctions of Orion near the equator. The spatial and temporal "evocations" of the ceremony, of the myth and of special features in the environment are rendered by the image of the masks, which condenses the meaning.

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Bibliographical reference

Dimitri Karadimas, « Le masque de la raie », L’Homme, 165 | 2003, 173-204.

Electronic reference

Dimitri Karadimas, « Le masque de la raie », L’Homme [Online], 165 | janvier-mars 2003, Online since 27 March 2008, connection on 13 June 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Dimitri Karadimas

CNRS, Équipe de recherche en ethnologie amérindienne, Villejuif.

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