Bali & Java

Classic Javanese dance mask

Raja Putri
Raja Putri

Q:  We got these at a garage sale. I presume they’re Indonesian – Javanese? I have cheekily submitted the two, because they’re so much a pair. They are too small to be actual costume masks I think. Unless worn by children. Any thoughts?  Jessica, 795

A: Javanese dance masks sometimes look small to American and European collectors because we tend to be larger than the Indonesians. I don’t think it is for children. This particular mask could be Raja Putri or some other high ranking member of the court in the classic Topeng dance drama. I wanted to show it to our readers because this white-faced female character is so typical of the genre. If you wanted to display only one mask from Java, this would be a good choice. And it would be quite affordable because it was made for sale to the tourist trade. More carefully made masks, especially one used by a professional dancer, would be very expensive.  C+

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