India | Kerala

Krishnattam Costume

Krishnattam is a dance performed in the famous Guruvayoorappan Temple, depicting various scenes in the life of Lord Krishna. The costumes are similar to that used in ‘Kathakali.’ The costumes are multicolored adorned with gold ornaments.

Each character in Krishnattam is identified with a particular type of costume and makeup. The male character usually dons a long white bulging skirt, a full-sleeved jacket and a typical headgear. A white cloth rests over the shoulders. Some characters wear a white tunic and turban along with red waistband and a red shield. The characters depicting wrestlers sport moustaches. The female character wears a red jacket along with a white saree. The forehead is veiled with a long scarf, which rests over the head.

There are basically 4 types of makeup namely ‘pachha,’ ‘kathi,’ ‘pazhuppu’ and ‘minukku.’ The ‘pachha’ (green) makeup is done on the main characters like ‘Vasudeva,’ ‘ Kamsa,’ ‘Nandagopa,’ ‘Uddhava,’ ‘Krishna,’ ‘Arjuna,’ ‘Jarasandha,’ and ‘Sisupala.’ The ‘kathi’ makeup is done on the evil characters. The ‘pazhuppu’ makeup adorns Balarama, Bhima and Shiva. The female characters feature the ‘minukku’ makeup. The pachha, kathi makeup style along with the main female characters wear the ‘chutti,’ which is a rim made from rice flour, usually extending from the lower jaws to the forehead.

Krishnattam is marked by its extensive use of masks made from wood, each suiting a particular character. There is also use of props in the performance.

Updated on 27th November, 2005


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