Ceremonial mask. Barong Jero Gede

24 × 27 × 19 cm
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Inv. BA.14.005

Sacred mask associated to white magic representing a male character, personification of a king, who exercised a protective function in ceremonial contexts, purifying and restoring equilibrium in the village. During the most important celebrations of the Balinese tradition, the king’s mask was exposed in the temple on a large anthropomorphic wooden structure – a sort of giant puppet as tall as three metres – and it was carried in procession with its female counterpart to ensure the success of the ceremony.

Masks of this kind are remarkable for the stern features of the face, typical of a past era, as those that can also be observed in a very similar work created in 1936 and kept in the National Museum in Jakarta.

It is a rare artwork, of refined beauty, produced by a master mask maker, who was able to confer to it, as well as the strong expressive features that are in keeping with its role, also that special charisma (taksu) that is uniquely acknowledged in the works by great artists.

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