278 x 216 mm. A posed view showing a group of four men dressed in ornate costumes and appearing to be in the middle of a dance. A fifth man, in simple clothing, is seated to the right and is playing a drum. Devil dancing is an important form of Sri Lankan dance, but the occult overtones are still strong. Sri Lankans of various religions believe that certain ritual devil dances can cure the sick, appease angry gods, and ensure good harvests. Dressed in elaborate and colourful costumes - all of which have important ritual significance - the dancers move in prescribed ways to the accompaniment of drums. The dancers take the roles of healers and demons, and they act out in dance form what they want to have happen. Devil dancing is more than just a religious practice, it is a significant art form. Photograph taken circa 1886.
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