Masks of India
|Posted On: April 2, 2016||By: fusion-admin|
The mask is a heritage of this planet and works beyond all stipulated geo-political boundaries of the world. It reflects the innocence of the primitive people who were the real creators of these aesthetically sublime and culturally functional symbols.
The ancient Latin word for mask is ‘persona’ which means false face, an aspect of the personality shown to or perceived by others. Every person is said to have at least two selves – one without any guise and the other, an ‘alternate self’ – one which may or may not be a pretension. While it is the field of behavioral psychology that delves into the nuances of multiple selves of a person, for the common man, the search for the ‘self’ as well as its reflective imaginations has led to the discovery of the Mask – something that could give form to various guises which were far from the conscious self but close to the mind.
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties. -Dunbar
Masks portray the various moods on our faces as reflections of the various emotions and states of mind that an individual goes through. Experiences of love, anger, hate, fury, joy, fear, disgust, sorrow and so on. It transcends castes, creed and nationality and the universal body language depicting these emotions has been sought by man to be given form through masks. Masks can be thought of as having been created by our ancestors to form a bridge between the outer phenomenal world and the inner person. The ancient world treated masks as instruments of revelations – a pathway to the world of gods and other invisible powers – by giving form to the formless. This endeavor of our ancestors to know the unknown is given shape by the mask – be it of deities or cult icons or even exorcism and ritual healing. Masks thus became an object of reverence in all ancient cultures and are considered so, even now by aboriginal people around the world.
In India masks are made in every part of our country as indigenous produce of art and are used in theatrical renditions and folk orations to tell a tale more effectively. They are made in south, north, north east and west in India from wood, paper, papier-mâché, terracotta, metal, bamboo, and other materials like feather etc. As a tool in both popular and sophisticated theatrical forms, the mask helps in portraying various socio-cultural themes through direct or indirect or even satiric depiction of people or various social concepts.