The Samaguri Sattra in the Majuli Island in Assam has a number of Mask makers. coming from a strong Vaishnavite tradition, most of the masks are of characters in the Ramayana, Krishna Leela, or Dasavatharam.they make numerous masks that people buy to hang on walls and to generally take back as souvenirs.
This photo was taken at Goswami ji’s house. one of the few mask makers who works on masks for performance more than decoration. which means the masks come alive once you put them on. there is a special focus on getting the ‘sthai bhav'(base or predominant emotion) right of the character whose mask is being made. they are surprisingly light and extremely comfortable to wear.
he sticks close to the traditional style of mask making using strips of bamboo and clay, but he also experiments with a wide variety of materials. the Soorpanakha mask in the center is made of paper mache and painted with enamel paints. it also has a movable jaw, thanks to innovative use of a rubber band. the large full body mask on the right of Narasimha is made of bamboo layered with that synthetic sack.all the hair is made of well brushed jute. the masks on the shelf are a healthy mix of new and traditional materials. They also conduct mask making workshops. so if anyone is interested in having them over to share their craft, please write to us and we will put you in touch.