- Museum number
Mask made of wood of the male character Manila. Carved and painted. Gilded. Inscribed. With a carved headdress.
Inside the mask is a fibre bite cord used by performers to hold the mask in place.
- Production date
Height: 19.50 centimetres
Weight: 134 grammes
Width: 16.50 centimetres
Depth: 11 centimetres
- Curator's comments
A strong character as indicated by the larger and slightly bulging eyes.
Register identifies the character as "a chief ".
There is not much wear on the Raffles mask collection, suggesting that they were not used prior to Raffles purchasing them. Most of the masks are from central Java as the faces are triangular shaped. The north coast masks, particularly those from the Cirebon region, tend to be more rounded. It appears that the model masks are from the Cirebon area. The Raffles masks appear to be quite large, and it is not clear that they would fit Javanese faces well. There appear to be two main types in the central Javanese collection: those with carved headdresses and those with painted ones. Comments by Pim Westerkamp, Museum for World Cultures, The Netherlands, May 2018. The large size mentioned by Pim Westerkamp may have been the style of the early 19th century when Raffles was collecting. Mask sizes may have gotten smaller over time.
Laurie Margot Ross noted that the carving of the masks’ hair is rather crudely done. Presumably they were produced on commission or relatively quickly. The double lines on the nostrils are unusual. And, the relatively coarse handwriting on the Javanese labels inside the masks suggests that it was not done by a court scribe. The quality suggests that they were made for Raffles. December 2019.
Laurie Margot Ross said that the diamond shaped teeth indicate a central Java origin, while the flattened head usually indicates east Java. The holes that have been drilled on the sides of the masks may have been done specifically for Raffles, as it is not a feature of Javanese masks. Additionally, although the masks are fine, the hair curls are quite crude, suggesting they were produced in a hurry or for a not-very-discerning customer. December 2019.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2019 29 Jan-May, Singapore, Asian Civilisations Museum, Raffles in Southeast Asia
2019-2020 Sept-Jan, Gallery 91, Sir Stamford Raffles
- Acquisition date
- Registration number