Ritual mask – Garuda
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Wall object 1

ABR 083

 Code: ABR 083

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1700 - 1800

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 25 x 34 x 17.5

  Materials: Wood, painted

Ritual mask of the mythical bird Garuda
Masks play an important role in the religious traditions of the Himalayas. They are found in tantric Buddhism, in Bön, as well as in shamanic traditions. Masked ritual dances of the Tibetan cultural era (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, etc.) are called cham. They are performed on certain occasion, during festival times, and are an integral part of Buddhist ritual practices. These ritual dramas often last during several days and are usually performed by monks, accompanied by ritual music.
Cham dances can be purely ritual, illustrating visions of accomplished masters, or didactic, conveying moral values to the general audience. They can sometimes be punctuated with humoristic episodes.

This mask represents the garuda mythical bird. The garudais an Indian mythical creature traditionally considered as the mount of God Vishnu. In Tibet, it is known as khyung. This bird, part human, has horns and is considered the natural enemy of the naga, the snake-spirit.

Usually, dance masks have no holes in the eyes but at the level of the mouth, the dancer not being allowed to look through the deity’s eyes.