Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Headgear and Facial make-up

One of the attractions of Theyyam is its costume and make-up. And among this two important aspects that lend credence to the belief of Theyyam are headgear (Mudi) and facial make-up (Mukhathezhuthu). A complex yet graceful art the minute expressions and emotions of  Theyyam is in its face and is creatively expressed through facial make-up.  Facial art is done in keeping with the emotions, style of character and other features of Gods. Natural ingredients are used as colours and in Theyyam the colours becomes a language. Going into the intricacies of Mukhathezhuthu one understands that the colours have distinct role as a medium of communication.  Red, black, yellow and white colours are used mainly used colours for the same.

Most of the Theyyam forms resemble perfectly chiseled sculptures. In this respect, the headgear (mudi) has an important role in Theyyam and it represents particular region's handicrafts.

Yet another peculiarity is the variety of figures used for adorning the headgear. The headgears are known by different names like olamudi, ilamudi, pala mudi, thoppi chamayam, vatta mudi, neelamudi, peelimudi, purathattu, omkara mudi etc.

The costumes of Theyyam strictly adhere to handicrafts.  Beautifully stitched together in colours of red, black and white the costume of Theyyam is similar to the Uduthukettu of Kathakali. In the case of Theekolangal, tender palm leaves are mostly used as costume.

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