Collection Highlight: Barong Dance Mask

Carved wooden mask

Bali, Barong Dance Mask, Rangda the Witch Queen, C. 1970, Wood, paint, Gift of Owen D. Mort, Jr.

In the Balinese Barong Dance, Rangda is the evil witch-queen who brings death and destruction. Hers is one of the only dances performed by an untrained male dancer who does not have to keep time with the music as other performers do. Rangda’s chaotic and unpredictable dance is intended to scare the audience. Her evil is all-consuming and serves as a foil to the good Barong Dragon or Lion, who vanquishes her. While widely feared, Rangda is also revered. Her power to mete out death is a necessary part of the cycle of life.

If you were to dance while wearing this mask, what types of motions would you make?

This mask is currently on exhibition at the UMFA. Come see her in person!

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Please Touch the Art: Art Handling Training for Staff at the UMFA |

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