Masks of Majuli Chamaguri Satra

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1. Chamaguri Satra (monastery) Majuli that makes Masks was a must see. During Ras Mahotsav 2018 had seen performances with masks so was keen to see the room where various masks are displayed and get an idea of how made. Left is BARAAHA. Right is NARASINGHA.

2. “Mask making is an elaborate process. It begins with making a three-dimensional framework for the face. It is made from a local variety of bamboo that is cut into splits. These splits are then used are woven into a hexagonal pattern to make the framework” as you see. Mask making been practiced by Bhaktas for centuries. Masks are integral part of Sattriya culture.

3. “The woven base is now covered with pieces of cotton fabric dipped in a paste of clayey soil and water mixed with cow dung. This paste is applied over the mask for a number of times as per requirement and then facial features are carved out on each of the wet frames using a special set of knives. The pieces are then dried in the sun. Natural colours were earlier used for beautification of the masks, now artificial colours used.”

4. Material used bamboo, cane, cloth, clay, rock colour and cow dung. The model is then painted. “Three types of masks. Mukha are face masks. Lotokai Mukha is a type of mask used to move lips, eyes hands etc. Bor mukha is nearly life size or even larger in special cases as you saw in pic one.

5. We now see a few masks on display. Centre is Ban Raja. Above many head in blue is Ravana. Majuli is a river island, close to Jorhat in Assam. It is the cradle of the Assamese civilization.

6. This is TARAKA - sister of Ravana. Hair and mustaches are made from jute and water hyacinth.

7. Ravana. Masks give a physical form to the Puranic characters. “Sri Sankaradeva wanted a social change, without elaborate rituals. He wrote plays on the life of Lord Krishna and performed traditional theatres called Bhaona and song and dance performances in the villages. In such Bhaona performance, masks were used by the performers to depict the characters of the play.”

8. Top left TRISIRA with 3 heads. King is Hiranyakashipur who was killed by Narasingha. Right is mask of Khettriyo. Left blue with brown hair is Rishi think it is Vishwamitra. Extreme right is Dr Bhupen Hazarika.

9. Every masks represents a character. Think this is Lion name is JAMBANYNTA.

10. Ras Mahotsav performance at Chamaguri Satra. Speciality of performance here is the masks one gets to see.

11. Please help with name of mask.

12. Top is Sri Ram, Sita and Laxman.

13. This is Kumbakonam again from Ramayana.

14. Top monkey face are left to right Bali, Sugriva and Hanuman.

15. Please help with title of mask.

16. Close up face of NARASINGHA. To read a very good travelogue on Masks

17. Performance at Ras Mahtosav – see masks worn by performing artist. Man with the moustache is Maharaj Kansa.

18. Pic of fields in Majuli. It is close to village Saltora where pots are made by hand. Loved the view.

19. Now come to second room in the same satra. This masks is made in such a way that mouth opens when a person speaks.

20. Help with title of masks.

21. Left is BARAAHA. Right is NARASINGHA. Clearly these are favourites. Contacts of mask makers are Dhiren Goswami 91 84728 72321, 94017 05598, Hem Chandra Goswami is Head of the Satra and master craftsman 91 94352 80241.

22. Help with masks names.

23. Every masks represents a character so help with names.

24. Narakasur Raja. Caption info taken from this very nice link

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