TITLE: Lombok Raksa
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Lombok
ETHNICITY: Sasak
DESCRIPTION: Raksa (demon) mask
CATALOG ID: ASID038
MAKER: Unknown carver from the town of Loyok in Sikur
CEREMONY: Wayang Wong Dance Drama
FUNCTION: Celebration; Entertainment
AGE: 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: candelnut wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Wayang Wong dance drama of Indonesia centers around the Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. These epics revolve around the god Rama and his battle with the demon king Ravana, who has abducted Rama’s wife. In the end, Rama retrieves her with the help of the wily monkey king, Hanuman.

Although Wayang Wong is best known on the islands of Java and Bali, it has also made its way to the Sasak people of Lombok. Masks from this region exhibit characteristics of both Javanese and Balinese styles, with elements unique to the Sasak as well. The character represented by this mask is a raksa or raksha, or demon who serves Ravana.

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TITLE: Lombok Topeng Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Lombok
ETHNICITY: Sasak
DESCRIPTION: Sasak Topeng Mask
CATALOG ID: ASID039
MAKER: Unknown carver, collected in Mataram
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
FUNCTION: Celebration; Entertainment
AGE: 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: candelnut wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Topeng dance drama centers around the political history of the region and are called Babad Dalem (Chronicles of the Kings). Although Topeng is best known on the islands of Java and Bali, it has also made its way to the Sasak people of Lombok. Topeng masks from this region exhibit characteristics of both Javanese and Balinese styles, with elements unique to the Sasak as well. The character represented by this mask is unclear, but the mask is well used.

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TITLE: Maluku Islands Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Maluku Islands
ETHNICITY: Melanesian
DESCRIPTION: Wood mask of unknown use, possibly for Tjakalele Dance
CATALOG ID: OCID005
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Tjakalele Dance (?)
AGE: late 20th century
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: N/A

The Maluku (formerly Molucca) Islands are an archipelago of over one thousand islands inhabited by mixed Melanesian and Austronesian peoples. Since Indonesian independence and failed attempts to form various independent republics, they have formed two provinces of the Republic of Indonesia.  Very little is known about the masked ceremonies of the Maluku Islands or of this mask in particular.

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TITLE: Rangda (Calonarang)
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Rangda Ing Girah (Calonarang) Mask
CATALOG ID: ASID015
MAKER: Ida Wayan Tangguh (Singapadu, 1935-2016)
CEREMONY: Barong Dance; Calonarang
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: gold-plated silver; glass; buffalo leather; paint; gold paint; horse hair

The Rangda Ing Girah (“Widow of Girah Village”) is a creature of ambiguous significance in Balinese religious traditions. In Bali, she is typically referred to as Calonarang, which is also the name of her performance. Technically, she is a child-eating demon and queen of the evil witches (leyak). In the Calonarang performance, she seeks vengeance when the King Erlangga refuses to wed her beautiful daughter, Ratna Manggali. She leads her army of apprentices against the forces of good, represented by the protective Barong and his allies. Her many witch-apprentices include Rarung, Lenda, Lendi, Gandi, Weksirsa, Jaran Guyang, and Mahesa Wedan.

She has many affinities to the destructive Hindu god Kali, worshiped in parts of India, but she also seems to be associated with the Javanese mythical witch, also called Calonarang. Nonetheless, the Rangda mask is a sacred object of worship and usually kept in a temple, with protective associations. Rangda masks are taken out to perform dances and ceremonies on major holidays, most notably the Kunti Sraya, or Barong Dance.

This specific Rangda was the last made by the master craftsman, I. Wayan Tangguh of Singapadu, a few years before he died.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).


Video of a Barong Ceremony in Bali, Indonesia, 2018.

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TITLE: Sumba Island Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Oceania
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Less Sunda Islands (Sumba Island)
ETHNICITY: Melanesian (Sumbese)
DESCRIPTION: Ancestor Mask
CATALOG ID: OCID010
MAKER: Unknown
FUNCTION: War Preparation (?)
AGE: ca. 1950s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: boar bristles; animal teeth

The Sumbese people of Sumba Island are a Melanesian-Austronesian people who continue to practice the Marapu animistic religion. This mask probably represents an ancestor of the maker and probably served the purpose of war preparation. However, very little is known about masking traditions in this region.

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TITLE: Telek Luh Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Telek Luh mask
CATALOG ID: ASID011
MAKER: Ida Wayan Muka (Mas Ubud, 1971- )
CEREMONY: Barong Dance
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: colored glass; gold-plated silver ornament; paint; rubber band

The Barong Dance, named after its main protagonist, recreates a contest between good (represented by the Barong and its followers) and evil (represented by the goddess of death, Rangda, and her followers).  This specific mask represents one of the Barong’s retinue, known as Telek Luh.  Telek Luh is rarely performed, but she appears in the dance called Sandaran as the spiritual embodiment of feminine refinement.  The mask was carved and painted by the master craftsman I. Wayan Muka of Mas Ubud, Bali.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

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TITLE: Topeng Bedahulu
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Bedahulu (Beda Ulu) Putih Mask
CATALOG ID: ASID008
MAKER: Jero Manku Pande Made Rahaejeng (Banjar Pujung Kaja Desa Talipud, 1976- )
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
AGE: 1990
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; human hair; boar tusks; string; rubber straps; foam rubber

Some Topeng dance dramas of Bali depict folk tales having their origin in Hindu scriptures, while others are indigenous to the island. This mask belongs to the latter tradition. It depicts Bedahulu, also spelled Beda Ulu, a king with the title “Astasura Ratna Bumi Banten.” He practiced black magic until he was transformed into a wild boar demon named Babi Ngepet, then he sneaked into villages at night to rob the villagers.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

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TITLE: Topeng Bondres
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Bondres Ngecir Mask
CATALOG ID: ASID019
MAKER: Ida Made Sutiarka (Singapadu, 1974- ); Ida Wayan Tangguh (Singapadu, 1935-2016)
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama; Barong Performance
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; goat hair; rawhide; string

The Topeng dance drama is an important traditional entertainment and education on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Its origin can be traced to the oral history of the Balinese people and venerable palm-leaf written histories, influenced by Hinduism imported from India. The dance may have originated as early as 840 CE. The stories depicted in this drama, called Babad Dalem, tell a political history of the islands of Bali and Java as written by the court poets of the regional kings.

This specific mask represents a class of clownish characters known as bondres. The bondres character typically wears a half mask or an articulated full mask strapped to the head to allow for speaking or singing.  Unlike most Balinese masks, which portray stock characters, many bondres characters are unique representations of village types portrayed by the actor who owns the mask.  It was carved and painted by the late master craftsman Wayan Tangguh and his son, Made Sutiarka.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

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TITLE: Topeng Bondres
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Bondres Mask
CATALOG ID: ASID012
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama; Barong Performance
AGE: ca. 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Topeng dance drama is an important traditional entertainment and education on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Its origin can be traced to the oral history of the Balinese people and venerable palm-leaf written histories, influenced by Hinduism imported from India. The dance may have originated as early as 840 CE. The stories depicted in this drama, called Babad Dalem, tell a political history of the islands of Bali and Java as written by the court poets of the regional kings.

This specific mask represents a class of clownish characters known as bondres. The bondres character typically wears a half mask or an articulated full mask strapped to the head to allow for speaking or singing.  Unlike most Balinese masks, which portray stock characters, many bondres characters are unique representations of village types portrayed by the actor who owns the mask.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

Click above to watch a short documentary film on the Barong ceremony of Bali, Indonesia.

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TITLE: Topeng Bondres
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Bondres Mask
CATALOG ID: ASID016
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama; Barong Performance
AGE: ca. 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: human hair; adhesive; paint

The Topeng dance drama is an important traditional entertainment and education on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Its origin can be traced to the oral history of the Balinese people and venerable palm-leaf written histories, influenced by Hinduism imported from India. The dance may have originated as early as 840 CE. The stories depicted in this drama, called Babad Dalem, tell a political history of the islands of Bali and Java as written by the court poets of the regional kings.

This specific mask represents a class of clownish characters known as bondres. Unlike this mask, the bondres character typically wears a half mask or an articulated full mask strapped to the head to allow for speaking or singing.  Unlike most Balinese masks, which portray stock characters, many bondres characters are unique representations of village types portrayed by the actor who owns the mask.

For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).

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