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The cottage of Sri Lanka's premier Mask maker and ??? dancer - Olaboduwa Nekathige Pedrick - with mask makers (all has family members) at work in the foreground.
MS of workers
The maestro drawing the outline for carving
CUS of Pedrick
Pedrick's teenage daughter, Chandra, at work on a mask
His son, Rupananda, too follows his fathers footsteps.
A group of women workers
Painting, finishing and CUSS
CUSS of the maestro, Pedrick
Some finished masks
Pedrick wears one of his masks and does a dance to the accompaniment of a drum
Pedrick does the Nagaraksh (devil-snake) dance
Pedrick's son, Rupananda, in a devil dance, while drummer Charles Fernando gives the best.
Masks at the shop of a leading dealer, Mr. Dean Ismail. Mr. Ismail shows his masks to interested tourists, and local buyers.
Various masks both new and antique on display.
Masks are believed to have been originated by an ancient king of Sri Lanka. His queen was very melancholy and depressed, and nothing would make her feel happy. One of his advisers had a bright idea that a funny mask worn by a man would make her laugh. Since then masks of different types were made. At first masks portrayed the various evil spirits (devils) that caused maladies. There are eighteen such evil spirits, and there are eighteen masks to portray each. Invocations and chanting, whilst dancing with these masks was a popular method of dispelling these evil spirits. The mask displayed the characteristics of each devil. Later, masks were also used to caricature various social types, and make fun out of them, as is done in modern cartoons. Masks are now widely used like wall plaques to decorate homes. Their miniature replicas are popular souvenirs. It is now a b???ming cottage industry, with large numbers of tourists purchasing them incidentally bringing in the much need foreign exchange to the county.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved