TITLE: Leyak Mata Besik
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Leyak Mata Besik
MAKER: Ida Ketut Berati, Singapadu
CEREMONY: Calonarang Dance Drama
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil paint; horsehair; gold-plated silver; semi-precious stones; string; rubber strap

The Calonarang dance drama centers around the character known as Rangda (also called Calonarang), who is the queen of witches and represents the Hindu goddess of death, Durga. Each village in Bali has a temple honoring the dead, dedicated to Durga. A performance of Calonarang is rare today, but it may commemorate the anniversary of a temple, or it may be used to purify a village if a disease epidemic appears. Rangda challenges the local witches (leyak) to a display of power, and if she prevails, they must stop inflicting ills on the village. Calonarang also serves to educate about Indonesian history and entertain the audience.

Rangda has a number of leyak followers. They are believed to haunt graveyards, devour corpses, and have the power to fly and morph themselves into animals. This specific mask represents Leyak Mata Besik, a witch who has studied black magic under Rangda’s tutelage. The mask was carved and painted by the master craftsman I. Ketut Berati of Singapadu.

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