Beautifully hand-crafted and hand painted Kathakali Mask Wall Hanging decor. Kathakali is the most well known dance drama from the south Indian state of Kerala. The word Kathakali literally means "Story-Play". It is known for its large, elaborate makeup and costumes. The elaborate costumes of Kathakali have become the most recognised icon for Kerala. The themes of the Kathakali are religious in nature. They typically deal with the Mahabarat, the Ramayana and the ancient scriptures known as the Puranas. Kathakali is usually performed only by men. Female characters are portrayed by men dressed in women's costume. However, in recent years, women have started to become Kathakali dancers.
Traditionally Chau Masks form an integral part of Chhau Dance, a genre of Indian tribal martial dance which is popular in the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The masks are completely handmade. They are made using clay, mud and paper. The process is intricate and time consuming. First, a clay model of a mask is made from antel maati (sticky clay from the river) and then it is dried in sunlight. Then it is covered with powdered ash. Successive layers of soft paper pulp mixed with gum from mulberry plant are pasted on the cast. After the rough foundation, the final details are carved out by the skilled fingers of the artisans by applying a thin layer of fine clay. The entire thing is then dried in sun again.