Ariyapala Mask Museum

We are

Fifth generation of traditional masks carving and dancing

ariyapala mask amblangoda

About us

The art of Sri Lankan Masks was existing from time immemorial. Mask carving is a local tradition in the southern coastal region in Sri Lanka. Ambalangoda is well known for traditional masks carvings and masks dancing. The present institution named ‘Ariyapala & Sons’ passing through their fifth generation of traditional masks carving and dancing is a very popular cultural center in Ambalangoda. It was named after “Ariyapala Wijesuriya Gurunnanse”, one of the greatest master craftsmen in Sri Lanka.

History of Museum

This museum is designed to introduce into the richness of the mask tradition of Ambalangoda and to strengthen this cultural heritage. The museum, the workshop and the small library (containing all available anthropological literature on masks performances) may serve as a centre for traditional arts and crafts and for research as well.


Tell mocking stories of traditional Sri Lankan colonial life.


Masks are created for three different types of dancing rituals: Kolam, which tell mocking stories of traditional Sri Lankan colonial life; Sanni, or devil dancing masks, used in a type of exorcism ceremony to heal people of persisting illnesses believed to be inflicted by demons; and Raksha masks, which are used in festivals and processions.

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Sri Lankan puppet art has a Sri Lankan hereditary. In Sinhalese it is coined as Rukada to signify a puppet. The carving of puppets is an ingenious skill confined to distinct set craftsmen. Puppetry is used for the purpose to portraying variety of folk-drama locally known as Nadagama.

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Handy Crafts

Sri Lanka has a proud heritage of arts and crafts .Popular handicrafts include gold and silver jewellery set with gems, wooden masks, intricate lace-work, lacquerwork and ceramics.

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