Bali & Java

Javanese masks

aaaMystrySolvd-722Q: I have two similar, but different  red Topeng masks that look to be authentic, used, ethnographic items. Are they the same character? It seems as if they might be, but if so, why the differences? Is it due to their disparities in age or from the original locations? Thanks, Nate, 722

A: The Mystery Mask blog is restricted to one mask per person, but I will make an exception with these two. They are both examples of authentic Javanese masks in desirable condition. The big difference is that one comes from a poor rural area and the other from a more urban environment. I doubt if they represent the same character. There are several different dance dramas performed in Java and all together there are over a hundred different characters in the casts. I’ll bet there are more than a dozen with red faces!  A

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