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Lot 59, Auction 8/17/2017: 1960s Indian Papier-Mache Ravana Mask

$62.25
India, Puri Orissa, ca. 1969 CE. A stupendous papier mache Ravana demon mask presenting a boldly painted visage comprised of a bright yellow face with a scarlet red center featuring a toothy grimace with pointed, fierce fangs, wide-open, lined and lashed black eyes, arched brows with delineated hairs, and a curled mustache. The figure wears an ornate headdress or crown, a red and white bindi, lavish earrings, and a 'beaded' necklace. The Ravana mask is traditionally worn in an Indian 'dance battle' called a chhau. The performer who dons this mask is expected to energetically twirl and leap through the air. This character is featured in Dussehra, among the most popular Indian festivals. According to R. M. Lehri, "In every town or village, people go in procession in decorated floats to a large area of open ground where a giant effigy of Ravana, the demon, is shot by Rama. The effigy of Ravana then explodes with firecrackers." (R. M. Lehri, "Cut and Make Festival Msks from India" Dover Books, inside front cover). Size: 15" W x 15" H (38.1 cm x 38.1 cm)

Condition: Bit of roughness to left side of neck. Else intact and generally excellent.

Provenance: Ex-private Morgan collection, Santa Monica, CA.

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