TITLE: Topeng Patih Keras
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
DESCRIPTION: Patih Keras (Arya Sentan) Mask
MAKER: Ida Wayan Muka, Mas Ubud (1971- )
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: colored glass rhinestones; goat leather and hair; gold-plated silver ornaments; mother of pearl; paint; string; rubber band
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 character known as Patih Keras or Arya Sentan. Patih Keras is a strong, high ranking court official, usually an aristocratic warrior or assistant to the king. He may appear in an introductory dance after the Patih Manis (prime minister). The mask was carved and painted by the master craftsman I. Wayan Muka.
For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).