Gods and Sacred Mountains | Guru Rinpoche | The Dance in Honor of the Guru | Preparation for the Dance

The Preparations for the Dance

Even before the dancers put on their costumes, they meditate inside the monastery. They »create the deity within themselves«, before they portray it in the courtyard.

During some of the dances, ritual masks are worn that can depict wrathful deities, animals or manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. They are to assist the portrayed beings to having a presence in the festivities.

 

 

Before the masks are worn by the monks, they have to be ceremonially cleaned and consecrated by a Lama. They are only worn for the purposes of a tshechu*. The rest of the year they are kept in the monastery and hung above an altar.

The dancers wear their masks so high, that they can look out through the mask's mouth.

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Mask, paper mache; height 32 centimeters; late 19th century; on loan from Josette Schulmann
  The mask represents a deity (ging) from the heavenly paradise of Guru Rinpoche.


Mask, paper mache; height 30 centimeters; late 19th century; on loan from Josette Schulmann
The mask represents a wrathful deity; peaceful gods often take on this appearance in order to overcome malevolent powers.


Mask, paper mache; height 31 centimeters; late 19th century; on loan from Josette Schulmann


Before the tshechu* presentation the monks, in meditation, create the respective gods within themselves.
  Photograph by Christian Schicklgruber