Painted animal face mask, Singhalese from Sri Lanka, 1771-1920.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Painted face mask representing the head of an animal, probably a boar, posibly worn during the kolam masked playasociated with the exorcism of disease demons. In Sri Lankan medicine demons are believed to upset the balance of the Ayurvedic humours (bile, phlegm and wind). The balance is restored in the 'Tovil' ritual in which the demons are exorcised by performers wearing masks that represent them.