Join Our Email List | Contact

By

Antiqued Maiden Spirit mask

Nigeria

Nigeria

Q:  This mask confused me because the nobs on the top of his head would indicate Africa but the designs on the cheeks seem to be more Papua New Guinea. It is carved from light wood, completely emptied out with good vision through the eye holes and is 16 inches high. Together this would make it easy to wear.  Alice, 633

A:  You’ve got a Maiden Spirit mask from the Igbo people of Nigeria, West Africa’s most populated country. (more…)


By

Stumped again!

Mystery mask

Mystery mask

aaaMystrySolvd-632bQ: Thoughts on this one? I am being told its a 75-100 year old Malinche or dona marina from mexico… the wood type, carving technique on the front, and the shellac all make me think Japan-60-years-old.. little of this says Mexico to me.  The glaze seems to be truly of age, with a high patina per the pictures. Not sure I’d feel the same in person.  Nate, 632

A:  If a serious collector like you is confused, chances are I will be too. I’ve included a picture of the rear because it might help someone else identify the piece. Others should also note that the final coating, whether shellac or varnish, may have been done by a dealer or collector. (more…)


By

Many Japanese masks are for display

Noh theater character

Noh theater character

Q:  Handed down from great, great Japanese grandfather, don’t know history before that. Have matching Buddha face. Made from clay? Approx. 7 ins.  Nancy, 631

A:  How nice it is to have a handsome piece that used to belong to your grandfather. (more…)


By

Indian seal mask– maybe

NWC seal mask

NWC seal mask

Q:  Numerous “experts” have been stumped in regard to the identification of my mask or ‘helmet’ … variously ascribed as Tlingit, Kwakwaka’wakw, Mexican, Guatemalan and Javanese. The oxidation of the wood suggests considerable age … surely more than a century. What do you think? Also, can you recommend someone who can identify the type of wood which may lead to proper identification?  Christopher, 630

A:  Though I can’t find one that looks like this, I’m pretty sure it’s from the Pacific Northwest. (more…)


By

Strange but real

mystery mask

mystery mask

Q:  Hi, can’t place this one. Family in Africa 1967 on, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt. I think this bought in Ghana from itinerant trader. Maybe Mali, Upper Volta? Thoughts? Sorry I don’t have mask, one one picture.  John, 629

A:  I’ve never seen anything like this. (more…)


By

Maori design on masks and tattoos

New Zealand

New Zealand

Q:  That would be just fine with me if you post my Maori mask on your blog.  I purchased it in 1989 at The Auckland Museum.  The mask measures 5 ½ “ x 11 ¼ “.  Edward, 628

A:  I’ve never had a Maori item on the Mystery Mask blog. (more…)


By

From the far, far northwest

Inupiat of King Island, Alaska

Inupiat of King Island, Alaska

aaaMystrySolvd-627bQ: I have several King Island masks like this is one. The estate I got if from was of a man that was very well off and loved to fish for Coho. He was in his 90’s so I expect he got this mask many years ago.  I picked up a few Alaskan treats from the estate. I do not need a full appraisal but it would be great if you could tell me a $ range so I can note it in my insurance folder. This particular mask is 7.25 in high, 5 in wide and 3.75 in to tip of nose. The mouth is 2 in, the eyes 1.25 in. The wood is a soft wood, smells like a pine. Jim, 667

A: You are lucky to have this beautifully carved piece. (more…)


By

Black face mask

unknown

unknown

Q: I am looking to identify these masks. There are three that are made in the same style but with different facial features. The paint is the same on all, making me think they are for the tourist market, I am just not sure where. One has large lips and two have large noses of different styles. I have a few African masks and other tribal art. I inherited these three from my father and am unsure of their origin. Can you help? Thanks so much for your time. I have googled and the closest I think I have found is Sri Lanka, but I may be far off. I am hoping you can tell me where they are from.  Kim, 626

A: I can see why you thought of Sri Lanka. (more…)


By

Decorating vs. Collecting

Decorative mask

Decorative mask

Q: We purchased this mask recently from a man trying to get rid of some personal items. We love the combined mask basket look of it but, realize it is not an authentic worn mask. We however do not know what this style of mask is called. We would like to get more for declarative purposes but, searching basket mask on the internet does not provide any help in what they are called. Hope you can shed some light on a name. Thanks in advance.  Carolyn, 625

A: You can call this a West African tourist mask that looks like, and actually may be, from the Baule people of Ivory Coast. (more…)


By

Beat-up Guatemalan still here

Animal mask

Animal mask

Q: I purchased this mask from a small auction house here in England a few years ago.  It measures approx 14 inches by 6 1/2. It is of zoomorphic form and appears to have been painted at some time. At the top of the mask there appears to have been a hood attached and you can see where this has split out above the two larger holes there is only a tiny tuft still threaded through from the centre hole. I also think it may have had ears at some stage. carved from a heavy hard wood. .Any info would be great. Thanks, Robert, 624

A: Thanks for working so hard on the photos. (I worked as well.) (more…)


Top