Art > Carnival


Written by Geoffrey MacLean

The bat costume is normally black or brown and fitted tightly over the masquerader’s body. The headpiece covers the head entirely and is made from swansdown and papier mache face, teeth, nose and round eyes.. The mouth is used for vision and occasionally the mask is lifted to his forehead for a breath of air. Leather shoes with metal claws for toes are normally used. Ordinary shoes can also be adapted by the use of long socks, metal claws and a second sole. The wings with a wingspan from 12-15 feet are made from wire and bamboo or cane and covered with the same skin tight cloth worn on the body. Matching gloves complete the costume. There is a bat dance to go with the costume. In performance, the masquerader crawls, flaps, dances on his toes, and folds his wings in a series of choreographed movements, imitating the bat. Those who played bat mas long enough acquired the reputation of beginning to resemble the bat.


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