About this object

History of use

Royal masks presented at beginning of Kolam drama. These characters do not dance but merely parade and depart, although the heavy masks may be left propped up during the performance.

Cultural context

folk drama

Iconographic meaning

Headdress typical of king. Lotus petals symbolic of cleanliness and purity in Buddhist tradition. Elegant features, closed mouth full cheeks, glossy paint, light face all attributes of royalty, yellow headdress symbolic of gold or brass crown, while dagoba shape with lotus indicates Buddhist.

Physical description

Mask with three-tiered headdress that has a floral and scrolling design in brown and red on yellow. Three tiered headdress surmounting human face. Headdress yellow with red-brown overlay. Top and middle tiers have pattern of stylized lotus petals. Cross hatching on middle and bottom tiers; last has four flowers superimposed. Flower with blue centre on wave-like pattern superimposed on main body of headdress. The figure's face is pink with hair, eyebrows, moustache, and beard in black with incised lines indicating the hair texture. The eyes have a crescent-shaped slit under each, the nose is narrow with flared nostrils, the mouth is small with red lips, and there is an oval earring hanging from each ear. Reverse side has two metal hooks.