Vintage Mask of a Strong Minister (Topeng Keras), Bali (1301-4FBE)


H: 7.125”  W: 5.875”  D: 3” | FREE SHIPPING!

This fine, deeply carved and painted Balinese mask is the king’s strong prime minister (patih keras), a position of prestige usually filled by warriors of the second Hindu (ksatrya) caste. The large bulging eyes increase the power of his stare and the outsized thick bright red lips symbolize his intensity. This mask was personally collected in Bali in the 1970s and is in excellent condition with minor hair loss on the eyebrows.


Court ministers (patih) in Bali, Indonesia are danced in Balinese mask (topeng) performances named Topeng Panjegan where a single dancer interprets 5 legendary characters wearing full face masks and cannot speak. Patih manis (literally sweet, good natured, diplomatic minister) is often the first solo dance after a quick gamelan introduction, and patih keras (strong and forceful minister) is often but not always performed a bit later on. This keras type is portrayed as being brave and easy to anger, so the green mask is has wide red closed lips (the color of anger), large popping eyes and a bushy moustache. The dancer uses rigorous and quick controlled movements to express strength, and the mask is deeply carved with intended exaggerated facial elements. The dance begins with a low rumble like a storm gathering energy, then subsidies and repeats itself in waves. When the dancer is calm and pauses, he shakes his outstretched fingers and quickly turns his head in staccato movements adding tension and intensity and then repeats his process of gathering energy. Dancers  select from about thirty masks to enact characters from the 6th century Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata or from Babad Dalem, the Chronicles of Hindu-Balinese kings. Balinese-wood-carvings and other folk-art pieces from Indonesia like this are outstanding examples of unique ethnic and Hindu-cultural-and-ritual-art as well as Indonesian-woodcarvings. Most Balinese-masks are made from pulai wood.

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


Additional information

Weight 4 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 9 × 3 in
Place of Origin

Indonesia, Lombok




Vintage (1920-1980)

Materials and Technique

Wood, cloth/hide

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 7.125" W: 5.825" D: 3"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 18.09cm W: 14.92cm D: 8.89cm


7 oz


Excellent, no restoration/repairs.

Reference Number