OLD MASK, MAKER UNKNOWN. PHOTO: LUCY JOYCE – TAASA Review March 2011

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This article was originally found in the March 2011 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 20, Issue 1, Page 9).

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accompanying rituals) to contain and re-direct the energies of the material world, it would degenerate into total chaos. Although the many tourists who flock to Bali’s shores may assume that the colourful dances exist purely for their enjoyment ­ and indeed many are held and designed just for that purpose – Balinese masked performances are nothing less than the ritual means of maintaining the cosmos.

Each performance in its specific locality plays its small part in the whole.

Masks, as Napier (1986) has demonstrated, are the very essence of paradox and ambiguity...