HANUMAN - MAJULI MASK
Masquerade of the Monkey God - a symbol of strength and loyalty! - Majuli Maskcraft
Hanuman's tale as told in the epic Ramayana is renowned for its ability to inspire its readers to face ordeals and conquer obstructions in their own lives. At the time of the Ramayana, Hanuman is sent as an advance spy to Lanka, the capital of the mighty demon Ravana's empire. Ravana has provoked Lord Rama by carrying away his beloved wife Sita in order to start a war. During the epic times that follow, Hanuman brings hope and secret messages to the captive Sita, leads Rama's monkey army in the Battle of Lanka and single-handedly kills many demons including Lankini, champion of the demons.
Masks are an integral part of the mukh-bhaona performances of Majuli Island in Assam. Masks are a medium of creative expression used in different performances held during festivals, and in the Vaishnavite narrative theatre called the Bhaona. Deeply embedded in the bhakti movement, the origin of the Bhaona form of theatre is ascribed to the great Vaishnava saint, preacher and reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva. The mask or mukha forms an important component of the Bhaona performance, which helps in making the play attractive, expressive and in grihast or a family run sattra, a very well renowned sattradhikar famous putting the message across.
Samaguri sattra is a sattra, rather a for his exquisite work of mask making. Located 15kms from Kamalabari is Majuli where the artists make various puranic or mythological characters. Interesting how they built up a mask from natural things bamboo, clay, cow dung and cloth. The masks of Majuli have uniqueness.
These are quite light in weight. Masks are made on all the characters of the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas.
Mask Artist: The mask is made by Khagen Goswami, the Bhaona Play mask artist from Majuli, Assam.