About this object

History of use

The Kolam is a secular entertainment with considerable elements of social satire. It incorporates narrative, mime, dance, and music. A Kolam performance usually has four episodes the precise content of which may vary. These consist of a prelude, detailing the origin of the drama; the arrival of a royal party and dances by characters mythical, human and animal; enactment of a popular story or stories; and a purifying demon dance. The Mudali or village official mask is worn by the leader of the dance procession. The Mudali is considered the chief citizen of a village, commanding great respect and his legal decisions are final.

Cultural context


Physical description

Mask with dark red face, black painted hair, bulging eyes with semicircular holes beneath them, a wrinkled forehead, large ears and nose, a bushy black moustache with curled ends, white buck teeth, and a large red lower lip. On the reverse, there are two small nails with thin wire attached indicating possible hanging support. There are two small nails on each side securing the ears.