This is a mask I acquired from Germany about 40 years ago. I was told it was from Bali, but I wouldn’t rule out other parts of Indonesia. It is 13 inches tall and has been repainted several times. It probably represents a high-ranking character in one of the dance dramas. Since it could have been in a German collection for a long while, it could be quite old. It will be pictured in the new reference book we are about to publish. Have you ever seen a Balinese mask this old? Bob, 815
Q: Thank you for the help on the Dan mask yesterday. I told my friend about your website and the info you provided, and that it was a great help. He gave me this cool snake mask to figure out. Have you ever seen one like this? It measures 13″ x 2 1/2″ x 7″ and is carved wood. Thad’s friend, 814
A: I’m delighted to present this mask on the blog because it proves how creative African carvers can be. A mask with matching snakes crawling out of each nostril, and with great sculptural artistry, is seldom seen. (more…)
Q: I got this mask from an antique dealer who told me it was from the Ivory Coast but I can’t find too may with the beard. 11″ tall x 7″ wide. Wood has smooth finish on the front and unfinished back. 12 holes in the back. Leather patches under the eyes. Any help would be great. Thad, 813
A: There are regional variations among the masks of the Dan people who live in the western part of Ivory Coast and eastern Liberia, but they are generally characterized by a concave face, a pointed chin, a protruding mouth, an upturned nose and a high-domed forehead. (more…)
Negro, Moor or Fishman
Q: I am a dealer and a good friend and client Dennis Aigner of Laguna Beach, CA suggested I run this by you. Obtained mostly private estate where most of the material came from Canada. Trying to place this. Any help would be appreciated. Matt, 812
A: Several characters in various Mexican dances, including Negros, Moors and Fishermen, have faces that are usually painted black. (more…)
Who am I?
Q: This mask was a gift from someone who bought it on E-bay. The seller had no information on the origin. Made of light weight wood and shows some repair work along with small nails around the brows and mouth area. some of the wooden teeth look not to be original. It measures 8 x 8 x 8 inches at widest points. Luis, 811
A: Occasionally we get what truly can be called a Mystery Mask. I have never seen one that looks like this. (more…)
Q: I bought this mask from the German eBay last year for 15 euros. No info was provided and I have yet to find out anything about it. I would guess African and Ivory Coast. The backside does seem somewhat polished on the contact points. Thanks for any info in advance, you are a gent. Jim, 810
A: If I had to pick an area of Africa where it could come from it would be the northern DRC, formerly the Belgium Congo. (more…)
Q: I bought at a flee market.The material is carved wood, lacquered, and about 20 cm high. Enrico, 809
A: This is a mask for the Chen He theater of the Hu Nan district in China. In the Ming dynasty, immigrants from Jiang Xi settled in the then barren land along the river of Chen He. (more…)
Q: I inherited this mask from my grandfather who was an art dealer and collector. He collected African masks, but I doubt this is one. He was born in Canada in the late 19th century, but came to settle in Riverside California. When he married, he and his family lived in Beverly Hills where he had a gallery. He constantly flew back and forth to Paris collecting and selling lithographs and anything Picasso. I have no idea where he acquired this mask and how he came to give it me…but I’ve kept it all these years and am curious of its origin. Is it Guatemalian? 808
A: It is Guatemalan, and it represents Tecu Uman, who was a famous Indian chief who fought the Conquistadores valiantly in the Battle of Quetzaltenango in 1524. (more…)
Go you Seahawks!
A friend sent me the following story. The two images are of the sea hawk, an impressive predator from our north west coast. One was created by an Indian carver who lived there about 200 years ago, and the other was designed recently by a Seattle artist. Does this comparison suggest anything? It tells me that folk art is always evolving. What do you think?
Seattle, WA– The mask that inspired the original Seahawks logo will be on display at the Burke Museum starting this Saturday. Historians trace it back to the Kwakwaka’wakw people of Vancouver Island. (more…)
Q: I picked up this mask recently from an expat in Thailand. He bought it from the Chitwan region in Nepal. He said it is a reverse shaman mask. I believe the beard and eyebrows to be yak hair. It also has 2 yak teething measures L22cm x W12cm. Could you tell me anything about this? Dan, 806
A: This is easy to recognize as primitive folk art from Nepal. (more…)