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THEYYAM MASK.This wooden artifact is a ritual relic of the Theyyam worshipers, a centuries old cult practice found in the regions of North Kerala and Malabar. It depicts the face of a demon in a ferocious manifestation at the center. On top is a voluptuous seated deity flanked by a pair of elephants and a row of devotees on either side. They seem to be part of a celebratory procession, playing instruments and carrying farming tools and weapons. These masks are used in active worship and as part of ritual drama performed for the community, having a place of veneration both in the temple and domestic shrine. In the home it is employed during ancestor worship ceremonies called ‘chadangu’. At the community temple, the performance of the Theyyam dance ritual is undertaken, which has 400 styles and variations. Drawing from the martial history of the community, this dance includes a shield and a sword called a ‘kadthala’, the dance performance being a form of collective veneration of the deity alongside weapons of combat. Made of wood, this hand carved artifact manifests a momentous ritual practice into a three dimensional form in all its grandeur. Beyond its ritual functionality as a mask, it would be a coveted art object to add to a collection of religious and cultural antiquities.

Style : Mask

Size : 32" X 26"


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