Majuli | Art of Mask making

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Mask Making art at Shamagauri Satra  Majuli 

Shamagauri Satra ( Monastery) bhakts are famous and known to be making beautiful masks used in religious dances and drama, this art is practiced only here and not in any other Satras.

Lotokai Mukha, Mohini Roop of Taarka from epic Ramayana

Lotokai Mukha, Mohini Roop of Taarka from epic Ramayana

It has been the hereditary craft in the family of Satradhikar of the Shamagauri Satra.

Shamagauri Satra Mask making Institution Majuli , Assam

Shamagauri Satra Mask making Institution Majuli , Assam

Masks are the tool to make and depict the characters from the Srimad Bhagwat (Ancient Hindu Text) help to provide the physical form to the Puranic (Ancient) characters, people to associate with the character expression of mythical form.

Making of mask bamboo skeleton Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Making of mask bamboo skeleton Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Mask Skeleton made of Bamboo strips, Shamagauri satra Majuli

Mask Skeleton made of Bamboo strips, Shamagauri satra Majuli

Bamboo strips covered with cloth and clay base for mask Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Bamboo strips covered with cloth and clay base for mask Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Mask with clay and cow dung paste kept for drying in sunlight

Mask with clay and cow dung paste kept for drying in sunlight

Three type of masks are made, Mukha (Face) – only the facial characters are given importance, Lotokai Mukha (Face with movement) – in this type of mask the movement of eyes, eyelids and lips are added to the character.

Lotokai Mukha mask with eyelids,eyes and lips movement

Lotokai Mukha mask with eyelids,eyes and lips movement

Bor Mukha – it is a life size or may be up to waist  or may be larger than the body a mask is made to show the entire depiction of characters body expression .

Bor Mukha full body mask, The Narshimah avtar of lord Vishnoo Shamagauri Satra, Majuli

Bor Mukha full body mask, The Narshimah avtar of lord Vishnoo Shamagauri Satra, Majuli

Mask making starts with the planting and nourishing of a tree till it becomes use able, mainly bamboo and cane is used sometime wood is also used. The bamboo sticks are made into strips and a skeleton is made, a layer of cow dung mixed with clay is applied, nose, eyes, ears, lips are carved and then a piece of cloth with gum is applied and kept it in the sunlight to get it dry, natural color are used to with cats hair brush and bamboo pen to make more fine details on mask.

Different characters masks Hindu mythology  Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Different characters masks Hindu mythology Shamagauri Satra Majuli

Paper masks are made only for head gear, rest of the body parts are made of bamboo, cane and cloth, masks are made for almost all the Puranic characters including birds and animals, war weapons musical instruments etc. the characters worshiped as God in the Hindu mythology their masks are not made .

 

One can reach Majuli from Jorhat by road to Nimatighat , cross Brahmaputra by ferry to Kamalabarighat and the take jeep/bus to Gramurh , it is also a port of call for river cruises , rivercruisesindia.com 

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