Boar-bhuta mask

DATE:
18th–19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Bronze
CLASSIFICATION:
Costume
DIMENSIONS:
Height: 16 3/4 in. (42.55 cm) Width: 18 1/4 in. (46.36 cm) Depth (with tongue extended): 12 3/4 in. (32.39 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
306 HINDU GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
OBJECT NUMBER:
2000.321

General Description

This mask represents a boar-headed spirit called Bhuta. Boars are associated with the great Hindu god Vishnu, but Bhuta reflects an ancient nature spirit and was part of rural ritual dances taking place out of doors. In South India these ceremonial dances have a long tradition behind them, in which the actor/dancers disguise themselves as animal spirits. The closeness of people and nature is an important part of the Hindu religion, and all great Hindu gods have animals associated with them. Through the ceremonial dances, Hindus communicate with the heavenly world. Masks like this one embody powerful animal spirits of nature like boars, tigers, and water buffalo.

Adapted from

  • Anne Bromberg Label text, 2003.

  • Anne Bromberg, Label text, All the World's a Stage: Celebrating Performance in the Visual Arts, 2009.