Face Music - Projects - Tsam Dance Masks - Mongolia
  • Traditional Dance Masks of Buddhists - Shiva

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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016

Shiva - Bugu - Deer

The mythical animals include: bull (also water ox), deer, garuda, monkey, and tiger.

- The deer is also a servant of the God of Death, Yama (and also of the Prince of the Demons, Mahäkäla). The deer mask is probably one of the oldest masks on earth, and it is probably also a relic from prehistoric times. The deer and the bull primarily belong to the masks of the solstice ceremonies. New life starts with the light appearing. The deer is a symbol of re-awakening life and of light. Deer and bull, however, are also the main parts of a fertility rite dating back to prehistoric times. This rite is said to have been spread from Asia to Europe, and examples therefore may be found in different sites and in the form of many cave drawings. Presumably, rites were performed, in the course of which higher powers were implored to grant fertility and reproduction. Even today the deer is considered a symbol of high sexual potency in Asia, and from the antlers there are produced potency increasing powders.

(According to popular belief, these four figures (tiger, lion, deer and bear) bring along peace and well-being for the peoples.)


  • - grey or fawn brown face colour with brown spots, animal head
  • - sometimes crown with three or five jags with skulls
  • - usually ramified antlers, often with jewel fulfilling wishes inbetween
  • - white or yellow-blue costume with multi-coloured ornamentation on the sleeves and with different apron
  • - yellow trousers with black ornamentation

- In one hand he holds a sword, and in the other one often a miniature deer mask.

- Very fast, building up to ecstasies. Buga dances together with Makhi or Bukh, and he is responsible for increasing the amount of cattle owned by people. He is the representative of all animals. In some places Buga dances together with a female deer.


back to the Projects Dance Masks - Tsam Masks Mongolia

P & C Face Music - Ulaanbaatar, September / October 1999 - Albi
English translation: Hermelinde Steiner