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The set of Nava Durga Masks (13 masks) image
The set of Nava Durga Masks (13 masks) image

The set of Nava Durga Masks (13 masks)

The set of Nava Durga Masks consists of 13 masks which include the mask of Mahakali, Kumari, Barahi, Indrayani, Bramhayani, Bhadrakali, Maheshwori, Bhairava, Sweta Bhairava, Sima, Duma, Ganesha and Shiva. Making Nava Durga masks is not an easy task since it requires devotion, skill, and patience. The process of making Nava Durga Masks is regulated by a set of rituals that sanctifies the materials as being above the ordinary. It is believed that these masks have a continual life force or energy whether they are worn or are placed in residence at a specific site or god-houses. These sets of masks are the focal point of the Nava Durga Dance ceremonies that are performed from Dashain, in late September or early October until Bhagasti in June in Bhaktapur. Each year the masks are made anew by the special mask-maker, surnamed Chitrakar (Chitrakar means the painter in the Nepali language), in the four weeks preceding Dashain. However, all of these masks are informed, meaning that they have a tantric significance that is esoteric and cannot be fully read by non-initiates or outsiders. That’s why it was not made for a commissioned purposes before this.
SKU: Mask001 Category: Khwopaa (the masks)
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Masks mingle the spiritualism, drama, and beliefs of cultures. They, on one hand, are worshipped in the temple and on the other hand, are worn to depict acts regarding society and social life.  In the context of Bhaktapur, among different types of masks, the one which represents the gods and goddesses are appreciated a lot. Over the centuries, people are practising dances like Nava Durga Dance,  Nil Barahi Dance, Bhairava Dance, Mahalaxmi dance in Bhaktapur which additionally, make these kinds of masks more praisable.  These masked dance has kept alive the ancient tradition as well as the belief in sacred mask-making thing. That’s why these masks are respected even if they are only purposed for trade except for their real purpose. How are they prepared? The clay is kneaded and is beaten adding little by little cotton in it. This somehow makes the masks quite light. After that, it is flattened making the circumference a bit more than the size of the embossed pattern.  A piece of cloth is also placed on the top of the mould before putting the flattened clay into it so that it would be easier to lift it off after drying. Those moulds are made of plaster of Paris and clay, sometimes even by cement. The clay is then dampened with water to make it slippery and easy to shape. The extra clay from the sides is cut off to avoid cracking the edges and keep the cloth free to pull off the mask. Then, the masks are dried in the moulds for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours. After taking off from the moulds, the masks are again dried for a day but in a sun. The edges of those masks are then cut symmetrically and the Nepalese hand-made paper is stuck inside and outside of the mask. That is then covered by white primer and finally, after that, the colouring and polishing are done.

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