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Bone mask or not?

side and rear views

side and rear views

Q:  I recently purchased this mask.  I believed it is carved from bone, possibly fossilized.  Sutures can be seen in the underside of the mask.  I do not know the type of bone or from what animal. Neither do I know its origin.  It measures 7.5″ long and 5.5″ wide. Feel free to ask any additional questions. Thanks for any info you are able to give me.  Herbert, 773

A:  Bones are an unusual medium for masks. (more…)


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A mystery animal

unknown animal

unknown

Q:  I picked up this mask at a yard sale.  To me it looks very old.  Wondering if you knew what kind of mask this was or anything about it.  Its made of wood you can see its hand carved.  It’s approximately 9.5 inches tall and 4.5 inches wide.  Heather, 771

A:  Thanks for sharing your recent find which I think resembles a dog or some other animal. (more…)


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Marka style Kore mask

aaaMystrySolvd-772Q:  I got this mask at a flea market about a year and a half ago and am very curious about it.  It is wood with hammered metal overlaying it, with real animal hair. I tried searching through your site to see if there was anything like it.  Anything you could tell me about it would be awesome. Tamara, 772

A:  It’s a Kore mask from the Marka people of Mali, West Africa. (more…)


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Kuba Bwoom helmet mask

DRC, Central Africa

DRC, Central Africa

Q:  I have a mask that is displayed in my office.  I am attempting to figure out if it has any value, and if so, who to target to sell the item.  I have a sneaking suspicion that is a basic tourist mask, but I would like to be sure.  The mask was purchased by the previous business owner who left it with the building.  Unfortunately, I know nothing about it’s origin or even where it was purchased.  Danielle, 770

A:  The mask in your office is called a Bwoom and is from the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa. (more…)


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Mexican decoratives are nice

Decorative fish mask

Decorative fish mask

Q:  I purchased these 3 masks at an auction last night.  They were listed as African Masks.  I don’t think that is correct but don’t know where they might have originated.  Can you provide any info?  Many thanks for your help.  Joe, 769

A:  This is a better-than-average decorative mask made for the tourist trade. (more…)


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Classic Mexican Moor mask

Northeastern Guerrero

Northeastern Guerrero

Q:  I have an old mask from Guerrero. How can I have it appraised?  Karen, 768

A:  Your mask could be from the state of Guerrero, or the neighboring state of Mexico, which surrounds Mexico City. It is a classic Moor mask from the dance of the Moors and Christians, which is performed a lot in these areas. (more…)


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Mask from the Congo

with injured lip

with injured lip

Q:  I found this mask yesterday at a thrift store here in Maryland. I think it’s African and possibly from the Chokwe people. Would you be so kind as to take a look at the attached photos and let me know. It’s 7″ L (9″ including the hanging material) and 4 1/2″ W at the widest section. The nails are rusted, and the cloth around the top and side is worn. But, of course, that may not mean very much regarding age and a “tourist” sale. If you’re unable to help, would you let me know as soon as possible so I can seek another source? Incidentally, it looks like someone tried to repair a break in the lip area. Perhaps that’s why the mask ended up in the thrift store.  Carole, 767

A:  It might be Chokwe, but I think it could also be from another tribe in central Africa– formerly Zaire and now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (more…)


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Traditional Sri Lankan mask

character unknown

character unknown

Q:  Here is another mask I just acquired. Any ideas on where it is from.  Jim, 766

A:  It’s from the island nation of Sri Lanka, just off the southern tip of India. They still have a tradition of masquerade there that is alive and well. If you go to the Indian & Himalayas section of my website you can see and read about several of these character masks. http://www.masksoftheworld.com/masks/himalayas/  B


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Decorative Guro mask

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

Q:  I purchased this mask I believe in 1998 from a gallery (now closed) in Beverly Hills, CA called “Mozambique by Design.” At the time a certificate of authenticity and some history was provided in paperwork, but it has since been misplaced. I believe this is an ivory coast mask made of wood.  Do you have any further details on it? The mask wasn’t cheap when I bought it!  William, 765

A: This is a decorative Guro mask from Ivory Coast, far away from Mozambique. For a number of years skilled Guro carvers have been making beautiful and very creative pieces like this for the collector market.  (more…)


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Art of the Fang people

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Q:  I bought this mask at Marrakesh, in a shop full of articles of South-Saharian Africa: Benin bronzes, Dogon windows, Igbo, Fang or Punu masks… even some python or leopard skins. I bought this one at the same time I bought a fang mask but I don’t know who made this one.  Josema, 764

A:  It seems to be a Fang also, but simply and quickly made. The design is great… and I think most collectors would enjoy seeing it on their wall. It looks so West African.  (more…)


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