INDIAN THEYAM DANCING.
INDIA. A Bronze Theyam Dancers Breast Plate representing a Goddess in the cult of Bhagawathi, the Mother Goddesses in the folk religion in North Malaba in Kerala, Southern India, late 19th Century,
25 x 15 ins. polished bronze, with stylized cobra shoulder mounts for securing the piece around the dancers neck, a small hole for a jewel in place of the belly button, and symbols for the sun and moon on either side,
Theyyam (Teyyam, Theyyattam or Thira) is a popular ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu area (consisting of present-day Kasargod, Kannur Districts, Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad and Vadakara and Koyilandy Taluks of Kozhikode of Kerala) and also in Kodagu and Tulu nadu of Karnataka as a living cult with several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs. The performers of Theyyam belong to the lower caste community, and have an important position in Theyyam. They are also known as 'malayanmar'. People of these districts consider Theyyam itself as a God and they seek blessings from this Theyyam. A similar custom is followed in the Tulu Nadu region of neighbouring Karnataka known as Bhuta Kola. The prominent characteristics of primitive, tribal, religious worship had widened the stream of Theyyam cult, where "even the followers of Islam are associated with the cult in its functional aspect" and made it a deep-rooted folk religion of millions. This Breast Plate is used in the cult of Bhagawathi, the Mother Goddesses, which had and still has an important place in Theyyam. Besides this, the practices like spirit-worship, ancestor-worship, hero-worship, masathi-worship, tree-worship, animal worship, serpent-worship, the worship of the Goddesses of disease and the worship of Graamadevataa (Village-Deity) are included in the main stream of the Theyyam cult. Along with these Gods and Goddesses there exist innumerable folk Gods and Goddesses. Most of these Goddesses are known as Bhagavathy (the Mother-Goddess that is the Divine and United form of the three principal Goddesses namely, Brahmani (Saraswati), Vaishnavi (Lakshmi), and Shivani (Durga)).
Stock ref: 13680