Kolam Making ( Make up and masking)

In Thirayattam, the make-up is the painting of images on the face (“Mughamezhuthu”) and body (“Melezhuthu”), a very elaborate process and almost a ritual in itself . Each Koolam or Moorthy has their on unique costumes and style of performance, the make up also varies according to the Koolam. The items used for the make up of a Koolam is commonly known as “Aniyilam”. The “ Animara” or “Aniyara” (makeup room) is maintained with all purity and holiness. As per custom the process of make up is initiated with a “Guuvandanam” (adoring the guru) (Master).

The first step of the make up starts with the “Mughamezhuthu” (facial painting) followed by the “Melezhuthu” (body painting).  Naturally derived colors and articles are used for “Mughamezhuthu” and  “Melezhuthu”. Bright colorful images are portrayed on the face and body of the artist that adds to the gorgeousness of the Koolam.
The “Mughamezhuthu” varies according to the cast; there are more than thirty variations with distinct names.

The “Teekutty Chathan” and “Karikkutty Chathan” adorns the “Vattakannu”(round eye) , Pookkutty  “kalakkannu” ( Bulls eye) , Karanaver “Thatha Kokke “or “Thatha Kury” (Parrot beak) , Kariyathan “ Mankannu”(deer eye), Bagavathy “ Vyalimugham” or “Shangeerittezuthu” (Dragon face),  Karumakan “ “Kaadakkannu” (in some places the kaada kkannu is used for Nagakaali and Oodakaali.), Badhrakali  “ Kadivaya” ( monstrous mouth), Kulavan “Manmizhi” , Elamkkolam “Nathu Kannu” ( owl eye) Gulikan “ Koorikkaya”  etc.

The “Melezhuthu” has equal prominence as  “Mughamezhuthu” in the make up of a Koolam. The poplar “melezhuthu” variants are  “Manjalmaare” for Bahgavathy,  “AaruMaala” for  Kariyathan, “Kunju maala” for  Bhairavan, “Pannipaachil” for Kulavan, “Kadarakkuthu” for Kuruvalli, “Chandana maare” for Karumakan, “ Koombalakkuri” for Nair Vellatt, “Poonoolpariche” for Kuttichathan, “Kottikkali” for Gandakarnan etc. In addition to this “ Shangumvairidhalam”, ”Kodumpoorikam”, “Theppumkuri”,  “Narikurichezhuthu”,  “Nagathanezhuthu”,  “Vellatukuri” etc are some other commonly used patterns. Anjupullietteyzhuthu is the face getup of  Vettakkoru Makan Thira. The “Maalakkuri” on the chest and the “Chandra kukri” on the forehead also have equal importance.

Organically created colors are used in the “Chamayam”, rice powder for white colors, yellow by mixing turmeric powder or “Manayola” in water, Red from Chayillam or by mixing turmeric powder in lime powder, Black by mixing oil in the soot of oil lamp collected on a mud vessel coated with the juice of betel or a Tulsi leaves. The rarely used Green color by mixing blue color and “Manayola”  in oil or by crushing some particular green leaves

The fundamental principles of painting and drawing are represented in all “Chamayams” of Thirayattam, as it is accomplished by a seasoned artist with skill and experience. Colors and articles derived from nature are used in the make up. Usually leaves and barks of bamboo, coconut and arecanut trees are used in making masks, hairs and beards.  The gum used for the makeup and costumes of the Koolam is made from aged jack fruit gum and wax. In short each and every aspect of Thirayattam is derived and   associated with nature and environment.