India | Karnataka

Yakshagana Costume




Yakshagana, a traditional dance of Karnataka, is a world-renowned art form. It depicts the scenes from various mythologies in a dance-drama form. The costumes and makeup in this dance bring forth the scenes in their full splendor.

Yakshagana has similarities with Kathakali, with its large sized skirts, colored headgear and painted faces. The costume comprises of a ‘dhoti’ (loin cloth), a pyjama, a jacket and a loose skirt.

The makeup depends on the type of character portrayed. Demons sport heavy makeup, marked by the artificial eyelids and white dots spread over the face, depicting their wicked and violent nature.

The headgear consists of a variety of crowns, representing the type of character. Artists playing important characters sport a 'Mundasu', which is a richly adorned heavy headgear. It is broad in the middle and tapering towards the top, giving it an appearance of a lotus leaf. Performing a dance with this headgear on the head requires skill. Characters with less importance usually wear a simple turban.

The artists playing the mythological characters sport an array of ornaments. An important ornament is the 'bhujakeerthi', which looks like a wing and is worn over the elbow. It is plain-surfaced when used in ‘Mudalapaya' (dance form played in eastern Karnataka) and rough containing spikes when used in 'Paduvalapaya' (dance form played in western Karnataka).

Other ornaments include heavy armlets, anklets, ‘edehara’ (a chest ornament made of wood, pasted with paper and glass pieces in a decorative manner) and ‘veeragase’ (an ornament worn over the waist).



Updated on 11th January, 2015

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