Topeng is an Indonesian form of dance drama in which one or more dancers wear masks and perform ancient stories, often concerning ancient or mythical kings and heroes. It has its origins in the 17th century. Topeng dances are most prevalent in Bali and Java but are also found in other Indonesian islands such as Madura (off the coast of East Java). The word “topeng” means mask in Indonesian.
It is believed that the use of masks is related to the cult of the ancestors, which considered dancers the interpreters of the gods. Topeng performances open with a series of non-speaking, dancing masked characters that may not be related to the story that will be performed.