The Chhau mask is a traditional cultural heritage of Purulia in the Indian state of West Bengal.
The tradition of making Chhau masks started during the rule of king Madan Mohan Singh Deo of Baghmundi. The Chhau mask is traditionally associated with the age-old dance forms in Purulia.
Chhau masks are made by artists from the Sutradhar community. The making of a mask goes through various stages. 8–10 layers of soft paper, immersed in diluted glue, are pasted one after another on the mould before the mud mould is dusted with fine ash powder. The facial features are made of clay. A special layer of mud and cloth is applied and the mask is then sun-dried. After this, the mould is polished and a second round of sun drying is done before separating the layers of cloth and paper from the mould. After finishing and drilling of holes for the nose and eyes, the mask is coloured and decorated.
Tarak Sutradhar, one such Chhau mask artist in Purulia is stuggling to make ends meet during Covid 19 lockdown. His main source of income was during the Durga Pujo festival which has not been celebrated for almost 2 years now.
He struggles to feed his family of wife and two kids . The wife suffers from Asthama and his income is largely spent on procuring medicines for her. This fundraiser is aimed at helping him put food on his table. Additionally, it will be great if you can place orders with him and continue this beautiful folk art of India.