The Craft Of Mask Making In Ambalangoda

If the mystic world of the supernatural fascinates you, then an understanding of Sri Lanka’s mask making craft is paramount. Particularly in rural village rituals originating from ancient beliefs of the occult, masks have been is use for generations. Some also believe this secret philosophy to cure illnesses defying theories of medical science. 

Types Of Masks

For a long time, villages that practiced these rituals believed that masks had healing and protective powers. During these healing rituals, the exorcist will wear a Sanni (disease) mask. There are eighteen different Sanni masks, representing different illnesses.

Legend has it that masks are connected with exorcism. During these rituals, the dancers wear them during the performance. All masks depict humans, demons and animals such as birds or snakes. In the present day, masks are used in dramas and dance performances. There are three types of mask dances: Kolam (folktale), Raksha (demon) and Sanni (disease).

Mask Making Industry

As a cottage industry however, mask making is thriving and is a widely sold tourist merchandise and souvenir. Wooden masks, carved out of “Kaduru” wood are pigmented with different hues and resins. Then the masks are infused with a liquid application for longevity. For those keen on learning more book yourself into the comfort of Yoho Hein Ela, right in the heart of the industry, Ambalangoda.

 pin images      08aa50cf3ada1e4bbc56228a9abc812b