TITLE: Javanese Sita
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Java
ETHNICITY: Javanese
DESCRIPTION: Sita Mask
MAKER: Ganuh Nugroho AdiNarimo, Surakarta, Java (1966-)
CEREMONY: Wayang Wong Dance Drama
AGE: 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; polyester 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 a character known as Sita, also spelled Sinta or Sintha in Indonesia. 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.