Masks of the World

Exhibition at Muzium Negara                                                                                            20 December 2012 to 20 March 2013                                                                                      9.00 am to 6.00 pm

If there is one thing that all cultures and civilisations share, it is the love for masks.  The materials used, the designs and the purpose for the masks may differ between cultures but the fascination is universal and continues till today.

Come down to Muzium Negara and be prepared to be awed by the hundreds of masks on display.  Learn about the history and heritage of masks not only from Malaysia but from around the world.  The display starts with masks from Sarawak and the variety of masks from here is amazing.  A selection is shown below.

Masks of Sarawak

105There are two galleries of masks.  These two galleries are connected via a dark eerie tunnel lined with masks that glower at you from all directions.

While wood is the main material used in crafting masks, masks made from other materials such as clay, animal hide, paper mache, metal and rubber are also on display.

The display boards give a wealth of information and from one of these boards you learn that the earliest examples of mask usage were found in Altamira (Spain) as well as Lascaux and Dordogne (France) where cave paintings dated to about 30,000 years ago showed examples of mask wearing.

Masks of all sorts are on display.  Enjoy the pictures of the masks below and come down to Muzium Negara to learn more.

Scary to Cute

Grotesque to Pretty

Ganesh to Hulk

Variety of Materials


My personal favourite is the beaded mask made by the Huichol people of Mexico.


The star attraction of the 2nd gallery is probably the replica of King Tutankhamun’s coffin and his golden Death Mask (shown in the picture above).  In ancient Egypt, a mask was placed over the deceased’s face to prevent the face from fading.


Author: Museum Volunteers, JMM

Museum Volunteers, JMM Taking the Mystery out of History

%d bloggers like this: