(Last Updated on : 15/11/2010)
Costumes of Kathakali
preserve its masculine aspect in its elemental vigour. Strong Malayan and Tibetan influences are discerned in the embellishments of the actors. Kathakali Dance forms are noted for its ancient costumes, grand headgears. The costumes used are heavy, intricate, elaborate and colourful. They transform the actor mentally and physically to portray a particular character.
The costumes vary with the characters. For instance the Satvika characters or the hero don different attires as compared to the evil characters. Besides these characters, such as, Brahmin, righteous women, sages, don the Minukku make up. Tadi is an important part of the make up and costumes used in Kathakali.
Each character is instantly recognizable by their characteristic makeup and costumes. The costume is elaborate and designed to heighten the superman effect. The large overcoats, the flowing scarves, the bulging skirts, the antique ornaments, the strikingly opulent head dresses with streaming hair flowing down to the waist and covering the back - all create enlarged figures well befitting the sculptured facial features and produce tremendously impressive impersonations.
In the Kathakali dance form the head dress is elaborate and it is a heavy and magnificent affair. The magnificent looking head dress is profusely embellished with multi-colored beads, spangles, shells and glass pieces. The head dress triumphantly demonstrates quite a lot of intricate, elaborate and delightful carving, cunningly executed by master craftsmen. The head dress is after the pattern of a crown, set with gleaming glass pieces. Its shape, colour and decoration vary to suit the attire of the actor.
The costume is used by the performers that make them look like super humans. Mask like designs are painted on the faces of the actors. Different types of white line are used to denote the nature of characters. With such vibrant costumes, it is a visual treat to watch the Kathakali dancers perform on stage. The beautiful costumes of the Kathakali dancers are the essence of the entire performance.