Ratha Yatra Ceremonial Mask

Experience the sheer captivation of a truly extraordinary 19th-century polychrome ceremonial mask from Orissa, Eastern India. Preserved in its original condition, this remarkable artifact bears traces of red and yellow pigmentation with black pigment detailing, adding to its allure. The highly sculptural nature of this mask invokes a sense of wonder and imagination, pushing the boundaries of what is expected. Once mounted on a wall, it effortlessly seizes attention as a prominent focal point, be it in a room or an enfilade. Prepare to be transported beyond the realm of the ordinary, as this vivid and bold masterpiece commands an awe-inspiring presence that is truly unmatched.


One significant festival celebrated in the state of Odisha (formerly known as Orissa) in eastern India during the 19th century was the Ratha Yatra or the Chariot Festival. Ratha Yatra is still celebrated today and is one of the most famous and grand festivals of Odisha.

Ratha Yatra is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, along with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra. The festival involves the pulling of huge and elaborately decorated chariots containing the idols of the deities through the streets of Puri, a coastal town in Odisha.

During the 19th century, the Ratha Yatra festival in Puri was already a well-established and revered tradition. The chariots, known as “rathas,” were constructed anew each year using specific types of wood and were decorated with vibrant colours, intricate carvings, and various traditional motifs.

The festival would begin with the ceremonial installation of the deities on their respective chariots. The idols were then placed in the chariots, and thousands of devotees would gather to witness and participate in the grand procession. The chariots would be pulled by the devotees, who considered it an honor and a sacred act to have the opportunity to touch the ropes and pull the chariots.

The procession would move through the streets of Puri, accompanied by music, chanting, and religious rituals. Devotees would sing devotional songs, dance, and offer prayers throughout the procession. It was believed that pulling the chariots and having darshan (sight) of the deities during Ratha Yatra was highly auspicious and would bestow blessings and spiritual merits.

The festival of Ratha Yatra has a deep cultural and religious significance in Odisha. It symbolises the journey of the deities from the main temple, Jagannath Temple, to the Gundicha Temple, their aunt’s home. The chariot pulling represents the devotion and service of the devotees, while the deities’ visit to their aunt’s home signifies a familial bond and a break from the routine.

During the 19th century, Ratha Yatra would attract a large number of devotees from various parts of Odisha and beyond. The festival was not only a religious event but also a social and cultural gathering, with people coming together to celebrate, exchange greetings, and partake in community feasts.

Ratha Yatra continues to be celebrated in Odisha with great enthusiasm and pomp. It has evolved over time, but the essence of the festival remains the same, promoting devotion, unity, and the cultural heritage of the region.

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Two 19th Century Ratha Yatra Ceremonial Masks

Stock Number: 24553

A rare Ratha Yatra or the Chariot Festival ceremonial carved wooden polychrome mask from Orissa in Eastern India, 19th Century
  • Height: 65 cm (25.5 inches)
  • Width: 35 cm (13.8 inches)
  • Depth: 25 cm (9.8 inches)


This unique piece is subject to availability.
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Approximate Dimensions

  • Height: 65 cm (25.5 inches)
  • Width: 35 cm (13.8 inches)
  • Depth: 25 cm (9.8 inches)



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