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Gods and spirits in Asia

Demon mask

AOA Ethno As1972 .Q.1199

Demon mask

From: Sri Lanka
Date: 19th – 20th century AD

In Sri Lanka, if someone was ill they might visit a healer or a doctor. They might also see an exorcist, to see if the illness had been caused by a demon inside them. The exorcist would try and find out when in their life the demon had got in, then find ways of enticing it out again. There are eighteen disease demons, including this one called Demala Sanniya, the demon of high fever.

The exorcist could order a masked performance, in which all the demons responsible for the illness would appear. The performance would be dramatic and funny, and end with the demons being sent on their way.