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Master carver of the Sierra de Puebla

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, Mexico

Q:  I got this mask in a public house located near Cuetzalan, Puebla, in which is common to see several masks hanging on the wall. This a Teodoro Tacuepian creation. Actually, i was at his workshop in Zacapoaxtla, trying to acquire some masks, but he only had 2 masks on sale, a Pilatos and negrito. The technique and the particular shape of the nose tell me it’s a recent creation. With age his technique has become more rough. Now he is almost 100 years old and still working.  Yusef, 758

A:  That’s our man. Teodoro Tacuepian Galvan was born in 1911 and did not start carving until late in life. (more…)


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Rare old Chinese Nuo mask

Nuo theater general

Nuo theater general

This mask from the Maonan people of Guangxi Province in Southeaster China is carved wood 10.5 inches high and is middle to late 20th century. There are many unique aspects to this portrayal of a senior military general in the Nuo theater. Some of the wood surface has been left unpainted and there is a carefully carved figure on the headdress. And look at those wide open eyes!  757 (more…)


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Rough Guro antelope mask

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

Q:  What do you think of this hand carved work of African primitive art? Its modeled to depict a horned face with cut out openings at the eyes and has a warm patina. It is hardwood,18 inches tall, slightly cracked and chipped.   756

A:  I think it is African, perhaps an antelope mask from the Guro people of Ivory Coast. (more…)


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Indian folk art at its best

Ramayana mask

Ramayana mask

Q:  How can I find out where this mask is from? It is large enough to cover most of the wearer’s face and is made of hand sewn of leather, fabric, sequins and gold thread.
I’ve tried searching photos of masks from asia, south america and africa but can’t find anything that seems similar.  There are 3 others with the same coloring, shape and stress on eyes.  Cheryl, 755

A:  What a lovely piece, and a good example of Indian folk art at its best. (more…)


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One of many classic Tigres

Tigre mask, Oaxaca, Mexico

Tigre mask, Oaxaca, Mexico

Tigre is the word for jaguar in Mexican slang, and it was the apex predator for thousands of years until recently, when it finally became extinct throughout the country. It also plays an important role in Mexican mythology and shows up as a character in many folk dances. This mask is a Tigre for the Tejorones dance done in the Costa Chica area in the state of Oaxaca. Different versions of the jaguar-inspired mask are made throughout Mexico. (more…)


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Fall forward tomorrow

Steampunk mask

Steampunk mask

Some of you may not know about the Steampunk movement, or the fact that it includes masks. The genre started with Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelley. Later the term steampunk was coined by K. W. Jeter in the late 1980s. It was a clever way to describe his and a few other authors’ style of writing, tying the word cyberpunk to the Victorian era. This amazing mask is called The Sentinel and was made by Tom Banwell of Penn Valley, CA. (more…)


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Call for snapshots

There’s a page on this site where you can see how people display their collection at home. Click About/Showing them off on the home page above the blog. Then take a picture of you favorite display and send it in. It can show just one mask, a few, or a large group– whatever you want to share with us. Thank you!


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Very old mask? Maybe.

Central Mexico

Central Mexico

Q:  I just purchased this mask at an auction in Georgia.  It’s made of wood and is approximately 6″x8″.  I was told it dated to the late 1800’s.  Any information you could provide is greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your help.  Cindy,752

A:  It could be a Christian, Viejo, or some other character from Central Mexico. (more…)


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Have you seen this?

African metal headdress

African metal headdress

Q:  Does anyone know anything about this mask? It’s brass or bronze with an old patina and appears to have been worn over some kind of cloth headdress. Its believed to have come from the Mossi people of Burkina Faso and was bought from a “runner” about twenty-five years ago. It’s about 9 1/2 inches high. Any information will be greatly appreciated.  Gary, 751

A:  A week ago this was posted on the Yahoo discussion group, African_Arts. It was promptly answered with “It is a Lobi Headdress.” (more…)


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Bete war mask

Ivory Coast, Africa

Ivory Coast, Africa

Q:  I bought this mask at the Tucson Gem Show African Pavilion about 7 years ago. I don’t remember where it came from, or if I was ever told. I think I paid $140.00 for it.  It is one of three of my favorite masks.  Ira, 750

A:  It doesn’t matter a whole lot what it is or how much you paid, if you really like it. (more…)


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