About this object

Iconographic meaning

The mask is of Rangda, the demon queen in traditional Balinese mythology. Ritual dramas portray her battling with the benign Barong, who is attempting to restore balance and order to the world. It has been postulated that the character Rangda is based on Mahendradatta, the Javanese queen exiled by King Dharmodayana in the eleventh century for allegedly engaging in witchcraft directed at the king’s second wife. The exiled queen exacted her revenge by inflicting a plague on the kingdom before falling under the placating influence of a holy being.

Physical description

Dark red humanoid devil-like mask with long strands of fibrous, twined brown hair. Face has two bulging white eyes, a rounded, protruding nose, four protruding, elongated teeth, white tusk-like shells (?) set into the mouth, cheek and forehead, protruding ears and a golden, scalloped headdress. Dangling from the figure's mouth, representing a tongue, is a long strip of red velvet-like material trimmed with golden paper featuring elaborate cutwork; six alternating large and small paper rosettes with circular mirror insets in the centre line the velvet strip. A red flame-shaped paper piece protrudes from the crown of the head, giving the impression of a rooster's comb.