Painted demonic face mask, Sri Lankan, 1771-1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This extensively repaired polychrome wooden mask is thought to represent Garayaka, the demon of purification. 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.