Traditional Mas Characters - Tan Tan and Saga Boy Unisex Tank Top

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For The Culture. Our classic, all-purpose unisex tank top with interpretation of Peter Minshall's traditional carnival characters, Tan Tan and Saga Boy.

• 100% combed and ringspun cotton
• Tri-blends are 50% polyester/25% combed/25% ringspun cotton/rayon
• Side-seamed, unisex sizing
• Sizes - XS-2XL

History of Peter Minshall's Tan Tan and Saga Boy

The dancing puppets were created by Trinbagonian mas-man Peter Minshall for his 1990 Carnival production Tantana. With heads sculpted by the late German-born artist Luise Kimme, the Queen and King of the band, "Tan Tan" and "Saga Boy", were played by Peter Samuel and Alyson Brown. It was the first time in Trinidad Carnival that two of sixteen-foot-tall characters danced a duet with each other. In their mobility and expressiveness, they represented a revolutionary development in Minshall's exploration and experimentation with dancing mobiles – and, indeed, a breakthrough in world spectacle-theatre and puppetry.

"Saga Boy" is a term that originated in Trinidad in the 1940s, to refer to a particular type of fellow: a rake, a ladies man, a stylish dresser, a "sweet man". At the time of his origin, the "saga boy" had a particular code of dress, taking off from the fashions of the '40s but made extravagant by the Trinidadian tendency to excess. The styles have changed, but the spirit of the "saga boy" definitely lives today. Minshall's Saga Boy is reminiscent of the earlier version, in hot-pink shirt, lime-green tie, and white silk suit.

A "Tan Tan" embodies the spirit of "tantana", a local expression probably derived from the French tant tant: much-much" or, as they say in the islands, "much of a muchness". She is saucy and sexy, with a streak of wildness in her. She stays out late, flirts with all the saga boys, but somehow manages to stay in everyone's good graces because she is irresistibly loveable. Minshall's Tan Tan is resplendent in pink and green frills, and dances with a fluid rhythm that could only be from the Caribbean.

References/Credit: Kristy Ramnarine

Traditional Mas Characters

Carnival is one of the most unifying events and creative extravaganzas. It is an expression of culture that encapsulates music, dance, colorful costumes, pageantry, and performance in a highly spirited festival of energy for many countries. The traditional carnival characters became overshadowed by more modern, 'bikini and bead' costumes throughout the years. Fortunately, many people still love to play classic characters (mas) on the streets during carnival, preserving traditions and heritage.

Collection conceptualized by Trini Jungle Juice and art Made in Paris by Trinbagonian artist Neishel.

TJJ x Neishel

Art Made in Paris by Trinbagonian artist Neishel.

Size guide

  XS S M L XL 2XL
Body Length (inches) 26 27 28 29 30 31
Body Width (inches) 16 ¼ 18 ¼ 20 ¼ 22 ¼ 24 ¼ 26 ¼
  XS S M L XL 2XL
Body Length (cm) 66 69 71 74 76 79
Body Width (cm) 41 46 51 57 62 67

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