Art > Carnival

The Bookman

The Bookman | Courtesy Noel Norton

Written by Geoffrey MacLean

The Bookman, also referred to as the Gownman or Ruler, is a feature of devil mas portrayals. The other two groups of characters in the devil band are the imps and beasts. The bookman is the principal character in the devil band, and, in keeping with his status, his movement is waltz-like, with constant bowing. Musical accompaniment is provided by an orchestra of trumpet, saxophones, bass and drums playing conventional tunes.

The bookman’s costume consists of Tudor-style pants, or a richly embroidered gown made of velvet and satin, with a pleated or fluted bodice, and a flowing cape festooned with biblical scenes. On his head is an oversized head mask which contains small horns and carries a demonic expression. The face of this mask is supposed to mirror the face of the devil himself. The bookman carries a pen and a large book in which he write the names of prospective souls for the devil.


More sites in Carnival