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Lions, Witches, and Happy Old Men: Some Parallels between Balinese and Japanese Ritual Masks

Margaret Coldiron
Asian Theatre Journal
Vol. 22, No. 2 (Autumn, 2005), pp. 227-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4137132
Page Count: 26
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Abstract

The visual and choreographic parallels between Japanese and Balinese mask traditions are striking, and, though the exact interrelationship between masks of these two cultures cannot be proven with historically verifiable data, juxtaposition of the similar genres is useful for understanding mask dance. The masks discussed are the dog/lions Shishi (Japan) and Barong (Bali), the witch-like Hannya (Japan) and Rangda (Bali), and the sacred old men Okina (Japan) and Sidha Karya (Bali). Possible links include cultural diffusion and patterns of human perception. However, the visual language in which these mask characters are expressed and the mythology that delineates them probably comes from Indian Tantric models.

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