THE HANDS – SIGN LANGUAGE OF KATHAKALI

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THE HANDS – SIGN LANGUAGE: The sign Language used in Kathakali is very important and is called MUDRAS –an ancient sacred sign language that originated in the Hindu temple ritualsthousands of years ago and later adapted into the dramatic language ofKathakali.
The Mudras are representative actions; emotional gestures and an actual signlanguage complete with an alphabet and sentence structure.
There are 24 basic Mudras used in Kathakali to tell the story – AsamyuthaMudras – using one hand and Samyutha Mudras – using both hands.
Just as letters of the alphabet become words when put together, these primaryhand shapes only develop into an actual language when put into context, withthe appropriate facial expression and a series of hand, arm and bodymovements.
With various combinations of the basic Mudras over 700 “words” are available tothe actor to tell a story.

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