TITLE: Monpa Arachako Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: China
SUBREGION: Tibet
ETHNICITY: Monpa
DESCRIPTION: Arachako Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Cham Dance
FUNCTION: Celebration; Entertainment
AGE: ca. 1930s
MAIN MATERIAL: teak wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

The Monpa people are a small ethnic group, estimated at around 78,000 persons, who inhabit Tibet, the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and Bhutan. They are a nomadic people who rely heavily on grazing herds for subsistence.  The Monpa are primarily Buddhist, and their masks are typically worn at monastery celebrations known as Cham Dances to bless the sowing of the grain, pray for a bountiful harvest, and entertain the public. This mask, representing a clown character known as Arachako, was sent by the Buddha along with Arachako’s wife to cheer up the people in times of gloom.