Object Name: Mask, Maha Kola Sanni Yaka
Culture: Sinhala peoples
Place of Origin: Southern Province, Sri Lanka
Date/Era: Early 20th century
Dimensions: L: 97.80 cm, H: 129.50 cm
Medium/Materials: Wood, paint
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Given jointly by Mr. Vincent Price and Mrs. Mary Price.
Accession Number: X75.97a-e
The most spectacular mask in the Sinhala performance tradition is Maha Kola Sanni Yaka, which combines the cobra-adorned head of Kola Sanni Yaka with depictions of his entire retinue of eighteen Sanni Yaka (the smaller faces ranked on both sides of the mask). “Maha” indicates the greatness of this spirit, who is also sometimes called Raja Mulu Sanni Yaka. He is shown about to devour a human clutched in front of his open mouth.
Source: Gallery wall text, Fowler in Focus: Masks of Sri Lanka, 2009.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.