TITLE: Topeng Demung
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Asia
DESCRIPTION: Patih Demung
MAKER: Ida Ketut Berati, Singapadu
CEREMONY: Topeng Dance Drama
MAIN MATERIAL: pule wood
OTHER MATERIALS: colored glass rhinestones; goat leather and hair; gold-plated silver ornaments; 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 Demung. It rarely appears in a Topeng dance drama and represents a harebrained court official. It was carved and painted by the master craftsman I. Ketut Berati.
For more on Balinese masks, see Judy Slattum, Masks of Bali: Spirits of an Ancient Drama (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992).