These protective dance masks were made and danced by the Kayan at funerals and other major events and are distinguished by their flat faces, three dimensional noses and separately attached ears. The masks were tied around the dancer’s head, but also incorporate a chew stick tied behind the mouth of the mask and gripped in the dancer’s teeth ensured that the mask remained in place during the energetic dancing. A cloth nailed to the “forehead” of the mask covered the dancer’s own head.
This 1950s example has been used, repainted and reused. Note that the chew stick has indeed been well chewed. The white cloth nailed to the forehead is missing, but one rusty nail survives. The mask would have originally had ear decorations threaded through the holes in the ear pieces, one of which has been damaged. Dimensions 36 x 23 cm / 14 x 9 ˝ inches.