TITLE: Javanese Laskmana
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Java
ETHNICITY: Javanese
DESCRIPTION: Laksmana (Lakshmana) Mask
MAKER: Ganuh Nugroho AdiNarimo, Surakarta, Java (1966-)
CEREMONY: Wayang Wong Dance Drama
AGE: 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; leather strap; steel staples

The Wayang Wong dance drama retells parts of 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, Sita. Rama is the avatar (earthly embodiment) of the supreme god Vishnu. In the end, Rama retrieves her with the help of the wily monkey god, Hanuman.

This specific mask represents the character Laksmana (also spelled Lakshmana), younger brother and boon companion to Rama, who plays an important role throughout the epic. He is somehow considered one-quarter a manifestation of Vishnu and an avatar of Shesha, a many-headed king of all nagas (demigods who take the form of giant king cobras).

The mask would be worn by the masquerader biting down on the strap to hold the mask in place. This leaves the character mute throughout the performance.