Talking Points: Chhau masks

A collection of sources to explore Chauu masks in performances.

Please note that this page contains links to external websites and has videos from external websites embedded. At the time of creating, AccessArt checked all links to ensure content is appropriate for teachers to access. However external websites and videos are updated and that is beyond our control. 

Please let us know if you find a 404 link, or if you feel content is no longer appropriate. 

We strongly recommend as part of good teaching practice that teachers watch all videos and visit all websites before sharing with a class. On occasion there may be elements of a video you would prefer not to show to your class and it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure content is appropriate. Many thanks. 

This resource is free to access and is not a part of AccessArt Membership.

ages 5-8
ages 9-11
free to access

Chhau Masks

Chhau dance is a semi classical Indian dance with martial and folk traditions. It is found in three styles named after the location where they are performed, i.e. the Purulia Chau of West Bengal, the Seraikella Chau of Jharkhand and the Mayurbhanj Chau of Odisha.

The dance ranges from celebrating martial arts, acrobatics and athletics performed in festive themes of a folk dance, to a structured dance with religious themes. The costumes vary between the styles, with masks being used to identify the characters.

The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from  Indian literature.

Find out more about the “Craft of Accessorising for Chhau dancers” and “How the Craft of Mask Making Transforms the Dancers” with Google Arts and Culture.

Click on the image above to find out more about Seraikella Chhau Dance.

Questions to Ask Children

How do the masks make you feel?

How do you feel watching parts of the performance?

How would you describe the colours?

What kinds of materials are used to make the masks?