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Kathakali Showpiece - a Kerala Souvenir

Base material: Wood

Category: Decorative items

The Kathakali masks today available as little souvenirs and showpieces are an icon of Kerala's vibrant culture. 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-mâché.

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 represents the virtuous and noble; the kathi or 'knife' the proud, aggressive, and unrighteous; the red thadi or 'red beard' is the aggressive and demonic, the white thadi or 'white beard', the mythical and fantastic beings like the monkey Gods and the black thadi or 'black beard'- the tribesmen, foresters and cave dwellers. The minukku or 'polished' characters represent women, sages, Brahmins etc. Keralites usually prefer the pacha or the good characters for displaying in their homes.

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