Bali & Java

A Barong mask that seems too small

Balinese Barong
Balinese Barong

Q: Bob, what are your thoughts on this little guy? I am surprised not to see fasteners, or some sort of unpainted seam at the back end of this for some hood for the dancer… that said, the details, such as the well carved eyes and fangs make me strongly assume this is authentic ethnographic and not tourist. Do they make a variant of these that are intended to be smaller/lighter, and not had the dancer (i.e. perhaps one that is more interactive with the audience?) This one is 8 inches long (11 including handles), 7 inches wide, 7.5 inches tall.

A: I have seen some that are about this size…  and always assumed they were for the tourist market, which, as we all know, is very important in Bali. Some of the mask makers there are skilled at antiquing. But it is not clear whether this mask is showing real age or not. Maybe smaller masks are used for some cultural activity.


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