Have you tried painting the Cheriyal masks or the Chhau masks? The masks are exciting to paint and you can wear them especially if you are painting on canvas sheets.
Cheriyal (or Cherial) is a place which is 100 km away from Hyderabad and these masks and Cheriyal scrolls are painted here. The artisans here create these bright & colourful masks from wood or coconut shell, tamarind seeds powder and sawdust. They are then beautifully painted in natural colours like red or blue and intricately decorated with jewellery and other details. Gods and Goddesses, brides and grooms, demons and other mythological characters are some of the masks that they create.
Cheriyal masks are worn by the wandering storytellers who travelled from village to village to enact the traditional stories of ancient India. Cheriyal masks are now increasingly found in houses as wall hangings and other decorative pieces.
We will paint a Cheriyal mask on a canvas sheet and paint it with acrylic. Then we will punch two holes near the ears of the mask, attach a thread and tie it around our heads.
Children above age of 7 should try painting these masks
Draw the face and mark the eyes and other details. The eyes and lips are quite prominent in the masks. Outline it with a black pen before painting with acrylic paints. Since these masks are 3-dimensional, it is good to add shading to the faces.
Now let’s paint Chhau mask.
From South we go to the east of India. These masks are worn by Chhau dancers. Chhau is a semi-classical folk dance form very popular in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa. The Chhau masks also vary depending on the place it originated.
These masks are made out of clay, ash and soft paper pulp. The details are carved on this by the artisans. It is sun-dried and then painted and decorated to form the characters. The characters are usually Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
The faces have typical features which make them easily recognisable as Chhau masks. They have heavy cheeks and slightly chubby looks. The nostrils are wide and lips are thin quite unlike the Cheriyal masks. The masks have a subtle smile in them. The long eyelashes are very prominent and are painted all around the eye. The headgears are of enormous size and have shiny decorations.
It is now time to paint a Chhau mask. We will create the one above.
Painting traditional masks make us aware of the traditions and culture of our country.