The Costume

THE COSTUME of the Kathakali actor is most decorative. The male characters (apart from some of the minukku characters) have an enormous 'skirt' which contains 55 yards of cloth, on top of which is a thick woolen jacket draped with lengths of cloth. This seemingly cumbersome dress is in fact functional, as the rhythmic sway of the skirt imparts a certain majesty to the movement of the actor, and its volume gives the right balance to these oversized figures. The ample space it provides allows for ease of leg movements, which are an important part of this masculine art.