Sinhalese Cobra Dance Mask

19th century

 Height: 25cm   Weight: 200g

This eerie Sinhalese Cobra Dance mask shows a cobra emerging from the mouth to envelope one side of the face. It is carved from softwood and polychrome painted; the front and rear have good age and patina. Golu-Sanniya, the demon of dumbness, is one of the 18 sanni “disease” demons that represent specific physical and psychological ailments visualised in the leering masks. The full complement is rarely represented; only the most likely demons to be causing a person’s affliction are worn. During an exorcism the sanni demons are summoned, offered tribute, and requested to leave the patient alone.


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