Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): ‘Khekhda,’ a traditional wooden mask of Baiga Community from Mandla (MP) is on display under ‘Exhibit of the Month’ at Veethi Sankul in Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Bhopal on Wednesday.
Assistant Curator of the museum Rakesh Kumar Bhatt inaugurated the event. The exhibit had been collected by former Assistant Curator (Display) late Anand Tahenguria and coordinated by museum assistant Umesh Kumar Jhariya.
About the exhibit Jhariya said that the mask is collected from the Baiga community of the state. In Holi and Chherta festivals, the community performs the Khekhda dance while singing traditional Phag melodies. It is their important dance in which they perform by wearing masks to express their joy and passion. On occasion, they visit their neighbouring villages in groups to perform.
Masks have different socio-cultural and religious connotations. Baiga masks are not only used as means of entertainment for their community, but also serve as a means of communication with the spiritual and ancestral realms.
Some local species of trees like teak, khamar, sivna, semar, bar, dumar, and mango are used to make Khekhda masks because other words tend to crack after drying. It takes around 8 to 10 hours to prepare one mask.