A BHUTA CULT MASK OF A BULL, LATE 18TH – EARLY 19TH CENTURY
South India. This heavily cast copper-alloy ritual mask belongs to the Bhuta cult and represents Maisandaaya or Nandigona in the form of a bull with large eyes, curved horns, and its tongue stretched out. A crescent and flower are finely incised on the bull’s forehead.
The totemistic origin of this bull bhuta is quite obvious in a land of agriculture and farms where plows are pulled by bulls and where cow milk is one of the main sources of proteins. The link with Hinduism is also easily established through Nandi, the mount of Shiva. Nandi, “the one who brings happiness” in Sanskrit, incarnates the interior strength brought by the control of violence. Its four legs represent truth, purity, compassion and generosity. The fact of touching its tail is meant to deliver people from any kind of impurity.
The bhuta (spirit) is invoked in a highly stylized version of the ritual dance (bhuta kola) of the spirit impersonator during a theatrical production in which a world of supernatural beings is created by dancers adorned in colorful costumes including masks depicting various divine beings. Interestingly, Maisandaaya is a mute spirit that does not appear in the bhuta kola but is venerated in bhuta temples. Masks of Maisandaaya, such as the present one, are therefore much rarer than the more common bhuta kola dance masks.
From a French private collection.
Excellent condition with minor wear and casting flaws, some small nicks around the eyes and horns, one tiny lack on tongue
please check pictures
3.1 kg (excl. base)
Height 51 cm (the mask) and 61.4 cm (incl. base)
Mounted on an associated metal base. (2)
- alliage de cuivre moulé
- Début du XIXe siècle
- Région/Pays d’origine
- Titre de l’œuvre d’art
- A BHUTA CULT MASK OF A BULL - Maisandaaya or Nandigona
- Très bon état, voir la description
- 51×40×32 cm