Vintage Mask of a Demon Clown (Topeng Begul), Java (1201ZLE) $165


H: 12.7”  W: 3.375”  D: 3”| FREE SHIPPING!

This mask (Topeng Begul) reflects two themes in Javanese mask theater: it is comical, foolish and ludicrous with a silly bulbous clown nose and also a demon with animal teeth, fangs, bulging eyes and a stark black and white design.  “Jatiguwi” is written on the inside of the mask identified by the Javanese merchant who sold it in the 1970s as the clown’s name that we were not able to confirm.


Influenced by Islam for centuries, Javanese theater in Indonesia is stylized, didactic and full of central characters said to be cultural and historic icons of morality. Mask drama theater (Topeng Wayang) in Java is dominated by the conservative central Javanese palace courts (kraton) of Surakarta, Solo and Jogjakarta (Yogyakarta) which have long supported mask makers, dancers, gamelan orchestras and musicians and exerted a major influence over theater types and styles of presentation considered proper for public consumption. Javanese court dramas are traditional, mannered, ethnic folk-art performances unaffected by modern dance, drama or mask making. Dancers must follow strict conduct and dress codes and movements are idealized to demonstrate their character’s importance and significance. The lone area for expression and creativity is in interpreting the characters of clowns and demons, as they are not central to the ancient stories of the sacred Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Panji tales  centered on the legendary Prince Panji from East Java, the primary sources for stories. Demon and clown masks are comical, foolish, absurd or frightening, and performers are able express their character and provide comic relief, wit and even dread, alarm or fright during long artistic evenings of otherwise didactic drama. Although there are many contemporary and newly reproduced masks from Indonesia, authentic old traditional ones are extremely difficult to find. This one was personally collected in the 1970s in Java and is in good condition with surface losses and scratches consistent with its age and use.


Click here for the blog Indonesian Dance Masks (Topeng): Spiritually Connecting the Community


Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 9 in
Place of Origin



Antique/Vintage (1910-1980)



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 8.5” W: 6.25” D: 6”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 21.59cm W: 15.87cm D: 15.24cm


1 lb


Good to fair, see description

Item Number


Shipping Box Size