India & Himalayas

Old mask from Himachal, India

Q: This mask was acquired in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is made of very light-weight wood, and has two cracks that have been repaired. It looks to be from somewhere in the Indian Himalayas, likely Himachal or Uttarakhand, but I’m not sure exactly where, or for what purpose the mask was made. It might be related to Faguli. David, 1696

A: Here is what Wikipedia says: The traditional dances of Himachal Pradesh are varied and complicated. These dances are a vital part of tribal life. It reflects the culture and the tradition of Himachal. Hardly any festivity there is celebrated without dancing. Dance forms such as Nati are performed all over the region.

I know a little about masks from the Himlayan region, even less about the north-western part of India. I searched the internet and saw enough to agree that your artifact probably comes from Himachal, but from what tribe or what purpose I have no idea. Nor do I know if it is Buddhist, Hindu, or Shamanistic. Let’s hope that one of our nice viewers will make a helpful comment. A

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