PUNGJA – TAL
( Red – White Mask)
In Korea the word “tal” stands for the word mask. This mask was made out of gourd. It was first soaked in water so it was easier to scrape off the outer skin. Then it was cut in half and the inside was smoothed out. The outside was then polished with rough herb. The pattern of the mask was carved out using a chisel. This is how they got the raised nose and ears. The mask and the mask dances started way back to the prehistoric age. The earliest reference to the mask appears in the History of the Three Kingdoms Period, 18 B.C. to 1392 A.D. By the twelfth to fourteenth century it had emerged. The mask originated as a Shamanist practice to drive evil spirits of illness and bad luck out of a person or a village. The values placed on this mask were probably religious. The half red and half white colors represent that the person wearing the mask was usually a man that was the son of two fathers. One from the Namyang Hong (red) family and the other from Suwon Back (white) family. When he put on this mask he became a noble and respected man. Today they are mostly used for satirical plays and pure entertainment and not so much in ritual dances. In plays there is hardly any noise, but they do a lively dance along with music. The mask – dance performance is the major part of the performance. I would personally hang this mask in my house because of what I have learned from making and researching what the mask stands for. The person who made and wore this mask represents their culture that they believe in.
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