Kandyan dance originated in an area of Sri Lanka called Kandy. According to legend it emerged from an exorcism ritual, performed by Indian shamans who came to the island to cure a king of his mysterious illness. He is said to have been experiencing a recurring nightmare that he believed was caused by black magic. After the dance was performed for him, his illness disappeared and the dance was adopted in the area.
Originally only males performed the dance but now women train as Kandyan dancers too. It's the national dance of Sri Lanka.
This paper mache model was presented to the Duchess of Gloucester in Kandy in 1948.
On loan from Royal Collection Trust: http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/