The World of Masks at Ambalangoda – Discover an Ancient Art

Mask making has been an ancient art since days of yore in the coastal city of Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka. The wooden masks represent various deities and even demons. Used in many traditional dance rituals the masks are symbols of good luck and warding off the evil eye.

The Ambalangoda Mask Museum of Sri Lanka

Ambalangoda is well established as the mask making capital of the island. The mask museum well chronicles the journey this traditional art has taken over the years. Though over a 120 vintage masks are in possession of the museum authorities not all are on display due to a lack of space. However the lot on display are historical masterpieces elegantly carved to represent demons, deities and lesser mortals. On display are collections belonging to the Kolam Dance Rituals and Sanni Yakum Dance Rituals.

The Mask Library of Ambalangoda

This unique exhibit is the only one on the entire island. The place well chronicles the uses of each mask type with literature on the type of rituals performed and masks used for these. A recorded history of mask making on the island too is available here and makes for quite an interesting read when taking a break from water sports. The latter statement speaks to the throngs of sun loving tourists frequenting the south coast especially popular Bentota. Just a few minutes from sleepy Ambalangoda, Bentota water sports are well established for adrenaline pumping action making a day’s sojourn to the mask museum of Ambalangoda quite a relaxing treat.

Enjoy the Mask Workshop in Ambalangoda

Once you see the colourful and eloquently carved masks you most certainly will be intrigued by the manufacture process. Just half an hour from Shinagawa Beach the mask museum holds regular workshops as well as displays of ancient tools originally used to carve the masks. Learn the types of wood in use, the drying and smoking procedure and skills required to carve the elaborate expressions on each façade.

Catalina Forbes is a travel writer who bases her content on many thrilling escapades experienced across the world.Google+