Makara Gallery

Himalayan arts - Asian arts

Atsara mask

 

Tibet
Early 20th century
Wood, polychromy, fabric
28 cm
In # 6620
The Atsara are a kind of sacred joker of Himalayan Buddhism, very present in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. They intervene during the dances of the Cham, and take part in the ceremonies beside the deities of the Buddhist pantheon, imitating and caricaturing their actions, and doing tricks to the spectators. They are out of step with the choreographed ceremony of the Cham, while having certain responsibilities such as stage management and holding the audience, and constitute a counterbalance to the seriousness of the solemnity and the ambient drama by the comical aspect of their personality and their transgressive acts. They provoke laughter or revulsion in the audience while accompanying the Buddhist teachings in a playful and entertaining way.