Antique/Vintage Mask of a Comical Character, Bali (1266WCE)
Ht: 7” W: 5” D: 3.25”
The third eye on this topeng bondres is ironic, as it depicts a very odd clown-like, personality. Very well-carved, he has uneven bloodshot eyes, an almost hairless head, angular bony eye-sockets and a recessed face with black age lines on each side of a puny nose. The protruding red lips, open mouth with two teeth and mustache are not balanced and describe a weirdo demanding our attention. He is a strange and wacky Balinese jokester who evokes laughter and is exactly what the Balinese love: a abnormal slapstick clown with physical oddities. Personally collected in Bali in the 1970s, this piece is in excellent condition for its age and use with expected minor paint losses and scrapes.
Balinese masks (tapel in Bali, topeng in Java), are said to have existed since the 10th century and often are danced in serious stories with important moral, ethical, historical and philosophical ideas, especially when they come from Hindu sacred texts like ancient epics the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Babad Dalem, the Chronicles of the Balinese Kings, which are somewhat limited in the way they can be expressed. Much more freedom and improvisation is allowed in masks called bondres which may also be a half mask that allows speech. These are worn by clowns, buffoons, fun-loving jokesters, or attendants to central characters who may stutter, have infirmities and provide comic relief and slapstick humor engaging the crowd in a didactic yet rowdy presentation. Bondres is the most popular and beloved Balinese mask type improvised by actor-dancers who include local gossip, break normal conventions and keep onlookers laughing. In the last few decades in Bali, bondres performances have become a wholly separate dance type that continues to gain in popularity. This is carved from local soft pulai or punyan pule wood that is easy to carve and resistant to cracking. They are fine examples of ethnic and folk-art, are also prized as Hindu-cultural- and-ritual-art and are sometimes described under general terms like Indonesian woodcarvings.
|Dimensions||12 × 9 × 6 in|
|Place of Origin||
|Materials and Technique||
Ht: 7” W: 5” D: 3.25”
Ht: 17.78cm W: 12.7cm D: 8.25cm
Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use
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