TITLE: Topeng Raja Putri
GENERAL REGION: Asia
DESCRIPTION: Raja Putri (Queen) Mask
MAKER: Ida Bagus Anom Suryawan, Mas Ubud (1953- )
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: gold-plated silver; colored glass; oil-based paint
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 Raja Putri, the ideal queen or wife of a high ranking court official. It was formerly played solely by men as a difficult solo dance, but it is rarely performed any more.
For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).