ISBN: 9781785514111

Publication date: 29 Nov 2023

Author: Seth, Pepita

Theyyam is an extraordinary 2,000-year-old ritual of worship found only in the northern region of India’s south-western state of Kerala. It is in this myth-wrapped land that empowered men become temporarily transformed into deities. Whilst the process is an internal one that obliterates the practitioner’s human persona, on an external level his face is transformed by intricate make-up and his body fantastically costumed.
The word ‘Theyyam’ is a corruption of daivam, meaning, quite simply, God. The practitioners of Theyyam perform specific rituals and dance to express their joy at seeing their devotees, whilst the last stages of their manifestation involve them blessing, healing, exorcising, answering questions and maintaining the link between humanity and the divine.
Pepita Seth’s decades-long association with Theyyam’s practitioners gave her unprecedented access to their unique culture. In God's Mirror: The Theyyams of Malabar is the culmination, in her words and photographs, of her commitment to this extraordinary subject.