Somana Kunita

Art & Culture


In south Karnataka-region many village dietys (Mother-goddess) shrine have the Soma(mask) Cult, it has emerged as a local spirit worship and on the occation of ceremonial day of the dietys these Soma'(Mask spirits) are honoured. The term Soma- refers a unsatisfied warrior character, after death he or she becomes a guardian to the Mothergoddess. On the other hand the local people calla DEVA SOMA’S (MASK OF THE GOD/DIVINE SPIRITS) There are many types of the Soma’s, which differs from region to region. The worshipers of these Soma cult are belong to the community of Gangematadavaru (Fisherman group) The colour of the Soma’s are have special feature and depicts the nature of the  spirit, either  good or harm (trouble giver) to the devotees. Red-mask represents harmless, rest of the volour mask i.e. yellow are black are trouble giver. In the cemonial day devotees offer blood sacrifice to these spirits. Masks are made of Indian red tree or of Pterocarpus Santalinus Linn family tree. Mask wearer observs certain taboos in his habits to keep-up the mind in purity. Mask wearer holds a cane or stick and peacock feathers bunch in the  hand and dance according to the tune of the music which accompanied to him Mask dance starts from the pitch of mother goddess is temple with certain ritual. the process of the ritual and worshiping by non-Brahmin (Dravidian). On the Mask- head a mini headgear will be placed, it will be in the shape of arch (curved structure). Decorated with color fulfill flowers and green neem leaves. Back portion of the headgear contain many colorful cloths hanged down in frill, Somas (Mask) are ferocious in dancing according to the tune of accompanied instruments. Accompanied instruments are “ARE” (percussion) “DOONU” (Percussion) “MOURI”(Wind pipe) “SADDE” (Windpipe for humming sound or shruti). Usually the Soma’s proceeds from the mother goddess temple. Priest holds a whip in his hand and controls the spirit- oriented  masks. Often sings the epic of the Mother Goddess (Mythological hymn) To the tune of the oracle and music some time mask-Soma get procession, to control from the trance state the blood offering will be given of fowl or chicken.

In recent days the Somas (Mask) are made out of softwood and much introduced in the city folk with traditional costumes. The whole appearance gives the vision of chinese or Napalese masks.


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