Performing Arts >Kummattikkali


Kummattikkali is a masked dance popular in South Malabar in Kerala, especially in Thrissur and Palakkad districts. During Onam, groups of Kummatti performers move from house to house entertaining the people and receiving gifts (in kind or cash) in return.

The costumes of Kummattikkali are distinctive. The performers wear heavily painted masks made of wood (usually from the jackfruit tree, coral tree or hog plum) and skirts made of plaited grass. The masks depict characters like Krishna, Darika, Narada and others. Thalla (or thamma), the old woman leads the performers. The rhythm for the dance is provided by the ona villu, a bow like instrument made of areca nut wood, with a bamboo stick to pluck the strings. The themes of the songs are devotional. This is a participative dance with spectators often joining in spontaneously, and does not require any formal training.


Contributed by: Neethu, CEE Kannur Field Office

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This gossamer light muslin fabric has found mention in the writings of many visitors to India, even as far back as the 3rd century B.C. A great deal of muslin was produced in and exported from Bengal. Dacca was the main region where cotton was cultivated due to the high humidity of the region, which prevented the delicate thread from breaking on contact with the air. The cotton spun was very white since the Brahmaputra and the Ganges Rivers have bleaching properties. The chikan workers in Bengal used this fine muslin for embroidery.

Stitches in Chikankari

Double-Star Earring, Peacock Feather's Eye, Sidhual, Makra, Mandarzi, Bulbulchashm, Tajmahal, Phooljali, Phanda, Dhoom, Gol, murri, Janjeera, Keel, Kangan, Bakhia, Dhania Patti, lambi Murri, Kapkapi, Karan Phool, Bijli, Ghaspatti, Rozan, Meharki, Kaj, Chameli, Chane ki Patti, Balda, Jora, Pachni, Tapchim Kauri, Hathkati and Daraj of various types.