SAs 05246

Please find more information about the object below the image.

Producer unknown to us

Ritual object

Asia, Sri Lanka

Prior to 1891

Wood, carved

Carl Hagenbeck (animal trader, organised “Völkerschauen“)

Purchased by the museum from Hagenbeck in 1891

SAs 05246

This mask is still used today in the kolam, the eponymous folk theater located on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. At the beginning of each performance, a pair of lions dressed in masks and costumes perform their dance to the delight of the mythical royal couple who, according to tradition, once initiated the kolam. The lion, singhaya, has a high symbolic value in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). The majority population of the island nation traces its origins to the North Indian lion family. As an animal trader, zoo director, and organizer of the so-called 'Völkerschauen', or 'human zoos', Carl Hagenbeck also sold ethnographica to ethnological museums in his day. His mask collection was processed in 1993 as part of a cooperative project with researchers from Sri Lanka.

Carola Krebs