India & Himalayas

Large Indian mask

aaaMystrySolvd-937-aQ:  I have been trying to research this mask. I know it is from India but I am not sure if it is Ravana or Shiva? Also an age? I think it is late 19thC, early 20thC but someone has recently told me it was older? It is a large mask at 19″ inches in Length and 12″ wide and 7″ deep.   Josh, 937

A:  Shiva is a female deity, so it could be Ravana or some other male character. Unfortunately, there is no reference book about Indian masks to tell us the character’s name, the festival for which it is used, area it comes from, etc.  A careful search of Google might help. Or a comment would be nice. As for its age, someone familiar with Indian masks should look at it closely.



  • Amrish Vaidya

    Looks like a Shiva mask from orissa, eastern India,from the20th century.
    Shiva is a male deity and characteristically has transverse marks on the forehead.
    Ravana is a 10 headed character so definitely not him.

  • Peter

    This is a South Indian Kumattikalimask made of jackfruit wood. Probably depicting the king Mahabali. Kummattikali is a colourful mask-dance from Kerala in South India. During the Hindu Onam festival in August/September the Kummattikali dancers collect small gifts while entertaining the villagers. During this festival the victory of the Vamana avatar of Vishnu over the legendary King Mahabali is celebrated. This king is related to the Hindu god Shiva. On its forehead the Saivite Tripundra mark is applied, three stripes of white ash referring to Shiva dancing on the cremationfield.

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