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Title
 
Kathakali Dance Mask and Breast Plate
Description
 
A breastplate worn by Mr Vasu Pillai of West Croydon during performances of Kathakali dancing between 1975 and 1978. The mask was made for Mr Pillai in Kerala. Kathakali is a dance drama based on stories from Hindu epics, popular in the southern Indian state of Kerala where Mr Vasu Pillai grew up. The breastplate was sent to him from Kerala so that he could dance at the Onam festival held at Archbishop Lanfranc School in 1975. He wore it while playing the role of Pudana, who attempts to poison the baby Lord Krishna, although it could be used for any female role. The mask is an ornament that Mr Vasu Pillai had made in Kerala in 1988. It represents the make up of a male dancer playing the role of Yudhistir, Arjun or Nala Maharaj from the Mahabharat. This make-up would take at least two hours to apply.
Object Name
 
mask; costume
Date
 
1975-88
Material
 
wood; textile (unidentified); gold foil
Measurements
 
whole: 500 x 300 x 40 mm
Associated Object Number
 
M/2004/240
Theme
 
Work & Play | Arts & Crafts
Location
 
Museum of Croydon | Area 5 | Kiosk 3
Type
 
Museum Objects
Repository
 
Croydon Museum and Heritage Service