Costume and makeup form a very important aspect of any form of dance and dance dramas. The performers often use costumes and makeup as a way to make their characters clear to the audience, for example Kathakali dancers use elaborate makeup to intensify their different characters. There are three types of “Tadi” or beards used by the Kathakali dancers. The ‘Red Tadi’ is used to portray fierce characters and demons, the ‘White Tadi’ portrays good characters and the ‘Black Tadi’ portrays huntsmen and forest dwellers. While portraying a female character the dancer paints his face in pinkish-yellow paint and the lips are painted red. The eyelashes and eyebrows are also painted black so that they look enlarged. This is known as ‘Minuku’ makeup. In each classical and folk dance style in India the costumes are elaborate and made in a manner to make the dance movements look graceful. Infact in ‘Natya Shastra, the encyclopedia of Indian dance and theater, Bharat Muni has given pointers as to how the costumes and makeup should be for a production. He elaborates further by stating that there are four kinds of costumes and makeup; model work, decoration, painting of limbs and living creatures. Due to the expansive nature of this topic we will be going over the pointers given by Bharat Muni in series format. So check back tomorrow as we explore the concept of ‘Model Work’ as explained by Bharatmuni and its application in the modern concept.
References taken from 'NatyaShastra' ascribed to Bharat-Muni.