masks or models
Kathakali mask or kathakali model that's become the face of Kerala
The Kathakali masks today available as little souvenirs and showpieces
are an icon of Kerala's culturescape. Complete with the elaborate
headgear, painted face and long black hair of the Kathakali costume,
these curios are made in plaster of Paris, clay or papier mache.
Based on the colour of the face, the shape of the headgear and
beard, there are five distinctive types of characters in Kathakali.
The pacha or 'green' costume represent the virtuous and noble;
the kathi or 'knife' the proud, aggressive, and unrighteous; the
red thadi or 'beards' are the aggressive and demonic, the white
thadi or 'beards' the mythical and fantastic beings like the monkey
gods and the black thadi or 'beards'- the tribesmen, foresters
and cave dwellers. The minukku or 'polished' characters represent
women, sages, brahmins etc. The Keralite usually goes for the
pacha or the good characters to be displayed in his home.
This multicoloured extravagant craft has become a lucrative village
industry. A mask can cost anything from less than a hundred rupees
to a few hundreds depending on the size, the material and the
intricate patterns used. The Kathakali mask is available at government
owned emporiums across the state and at handicrafts showrooms
near famous temples and tourist destinations