The traditional masks are carved from light Balsa like Kaduru wood (Strychnine tree, Strychnos nux-vomica, also known as poison nut, balsa and snakewood)  The good Kaduru trees grow in the marshy lands bordering paddy fields.

The reason this wood is used is because of its durability as it doesn’t get attacked by wood mites.

Kaduru wood is the most suitable for the production of masks, it is a source of the world’s lightest timber. The softness of the timber helps craftsmen to carves such a complex carving. Other than the talent, craftsmen should have the passions to make such a miracle with their chisels.

The wood is bought by the craftsmen from Gampaha, Ganemulla and Elpitiya. Since this timber is mostly obtained from the tree trunk, the parts of the mask like the ears which requires thin planks are made out of the Albizia (Ceylon Rosewood) which is a light wood.

The wood is smoke-dried for a week in preparation. The hand carved & hand painted masks in traditional dance dramas are vibrant & colourful.



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