About The Craft:
The tradition of making Chau Masks started during the rule of king Madan Mohan Singh Deo of Baghmundi. It is traditionally associated with the age-old dance forms in Purulia, West Bengal.
The masks are made up of paper pulp, mud, and clay subsequently dried in the sun to make it hard. The masks are then colorfully painted and other decorations (foil, beads, colored paper, and feathers) are added to the mask. Finally, the mask is beautifully decorated using jari (tinsel threads), sparkles and colored foils, string of beads, pith works, colored flowers made from shola (a reed, Aeschymene aspera) and colored feathers.
Purulia Chau Mask has been Conferred with the Geographical Indication (GI) status by the Government of India in 2018 with GI Number 318.
- There are three styles of Chhau out of which Purulia is the most robust and virile.
- The Purulia Masks are painted in vivid colors.
- The pattern of them symbolizes the rank and temperament of the character.
- The masks have a glossy finish.
- All heroic characters wear elaborate head dress that form part of the mask. The crown is completed with feather silver beads and yarn.
- In contrast, the masks of the demons in Purulia are in vivid red or green colors. They have ferocious facial expressions, blood shot eyes, wide dilated nostrils, wrinkled skin and open mouth from which fangs come out. They also sport unkempt black hair and black beards.
Flaunt your Traditional, Unique, and Classy choice in art by decorating the walls of your home with these Purulia Chau Masks.
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