TITLE: Topeng Tua At’sina
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
COUNTRY: Indonesia
SUBREGION: Bali
ETHNICITY: Balinese
DESCRIPTION: Tua At’sina (Old Man) Mask
MAKER: Ida Wayan Tangguh, Singapadu (1935-2016)
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; horsehair; silk thread; gold-plated silver; semi-precious stones; velvet cloth; dyed cotton string

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 an important character known as tua at’sina, or distinguished old man. The tua is a versatile mask that may represent several characters, including a senior minister, or retired statesman or king. In each case, he is characterized by dignity and wisdom, tainted with pathos by the feebleness of age. The mask was carved and painted by the late master craftsman I. Wayan Tangguh.

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