Bhuta bronze body mask
18th century, India
Height: 72 cm, 28.3 inches
This bronze body mask, originally crafted for ceremonial purposes is a superb example of Bhuta spiritual ritual attire. The ancestral cult, still actively practices in the Tulu Nadu region of India perform the Bhuta Kola ceremonies annually. This function lasts several evenings, and involves the use of ritual objects such as this body mask, face mask, ornaments, as well as offerings of fruit and animals for sacrifice.
This mask is crafted with two snakes, tails at either side of the body mask, meeting at the middle of the two crafted breasts, subsequently diverging again where the heads stand one at each shoulder of the body mask. The high collar protrudes from the body mask, decorated with a beaded border and an engraved pendant. This body mask traditionally is worn with the Jumadi mask, a symbolism of the ferocious Jumadi god.