Vintage Balinese Rangda Mask. Mythology. Durga. Bali.
Rangda – a dramatic manifestation of the Goddess of the Underworld, Durga – is the demon queen of the Leyaks. Leyaks are spirit/ghost-like figures in Bali that appear as humans during the daylight but – at night – their head and entrails break off from their bodies and fly around villages and cemeteries. Legends of Rangda include her fondness for eating children, causing pestilence and leading a group of evil witches. What?
With all this negativity, it is important to remember that in Balinese religion and mysticism there are no gods or demons who are all good or all bad. There is a lot of symbolism, beliefs and traditions which makes the whole interpretation rather complex.
But we do know a lot about the ancient Balinese Barong dance involving Rangda . . . with her protruding eyes, long red/colored tongue a mouth full of big teeth (with curved fangs), and here, an unkept mop of gray hair down her back.
This is one of those dance masks used in actual ceremonies . . . not in the outskirts to entertain the tourists. Brought into the U.S. in the late 1950s by an avid collector and traveler.
Her gold tongue is openwork with mirrors.
It is an excellent mask in good condition. Rare. It was made to be hung when not in use.