A DICTIONARY OF KATHAKALI SIGN LANGUAGE [MUDRAS]
Kathakali Mudras - An ancient sign language of India.
The first digital interactive Dictionary of Kathakali Mudras in the world has been launched! - click this link to access the dictionary Kathakali Mudras
Created by Kathakali actor, Kalamandalam Vijayakumar, Director of the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company, to help people understand a Kathakali play on a deeper level. Before digital cameras were invented Kalamandalam Vijayakumar started to film over 750 gestures used in Kathakali to tell a story.
Technology finally caught up with his vision to create a dictionary that was interactive, easy to use, could be accessed all over the world and would open a door into the abstract language of Kathakali mudras. What an achievement to have created this incredible work!
In the same way Kathakali brought Hinduism to the local communities through theatre, Kalamandalam Vijayakumar has brought the visual language of Kathakali to the world.
photo credit Mark Bennett Kathakali at WOMAD 2015. Actors Kalamandalam Balasubramanain and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar
Photo credit Mark Bennett actor Kalamandalam Balasubramanian
Go back in time and discover how this sign language, first used by the priests in temple rituals, were adopted by the classical arts of India and how signs become words, words become sentances and sentences tell stories.
Explore how this sign language was adapted into drama to become the voice of Kathakali.
Where did the sign language come from?
Who created it?
Why is it still used in Kathakali today?