Over 1000 different masks shown and described

The largest reference book of masks.

Most of mankind's cultural diversity is displayed on more than 200 pages, including 12 chapters divided into different geographical areas, plus two more titled "Protection & Protest" and "Steampunk & Sex." Everything is well organized, beautifully photographed, and easy to read.

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Overview of Masks of the World

The story of masks began when man decided to impersonate something he wasn’t.

Chapter One


When we talk about Africa, we will be concentrating on the western and central regions that extend from Guinea Bissau, down the coast to the northern parts of Angola, and east to Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Chapter Two

India & Himalayas

The next region of the world we wish to explore starts in Tibet, now known as the Xizang Province of China. From there we’ll proceed along the southern edge of the Himalayan Mountains to Nepal, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka.

Chapter Three

East Asia

In this chapter you will see masks of East Asia including China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan and Southeast Asia. We’ll start with China, the largest and oldest country in the world.

Chapter Four

Bali & Java

Separating the Pacific Ocean from the Indian Ocean is the island nation of Indonesia. Although the majority of the population practice Islam, the provinces of Java, Bali and Lombok have a rich tradition of both Buddhism and Hinduism.

Chapter Five


Oceania encompasses the thousands of islands of the Pacific Ocean, some of which measure less than one square mile in area. Excluding Indonesia, the population count for all of Oceania is not much larger than that of Guatemala.

Chapter Six


The European masks we all love to see and collect are largely rural folk art made and used in small villages. These peasant communities have a rich and varied carving tradition that changes dramatically as it moves across the continent from England to the Black Sea.

Chapter Seven

Native America

By the 15th century more than 50 million people were already living in the Americas, and maybe more. About a fifth of these people occupied the lands we know today as the U.S. and Canada. Unfortunately, the entire indigenous population of the New World was greatly reduced by European diseases, warfare and mistreatment.

Chapter Eight

Modern America

We have been looking at native people, cultures going back thousands of years. They're described as indigenous, which suggests historical ties to the area in which they live, even though lots of newer people live there now. This chapter is about the new people.



Chapter Nine


Masquerade is performed in most of Mexico’s states, cities, and especially in thousands of small rural villages. Many holidays are celebrated with different masked dances and plays. This is the largest chapter.

Chapter Ten


Although small in size and population, Guatemala is a country that takes great interest in masquerade. This interest is reciprocated by tourists and collectors alike. It is an important part of our book.

Chapter Eleven


Most of the islands in the Caribbean enjoy the traditions of masquerade. You can’t help being impressed by the spectacular creations worn at Carnival time in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico or Trinidad & Tobago.

Chapter Twelve

South America

Like the preceding chapters, South America will be mostly represented by tribal people that have cultural traditions in which masquerade plays a meaningful role. There are two groups that seem to account for most of the collection, the Indians of the Andes and the Amazon basin.

Chapter Thirteen

Protection and Protest

Throughout this book we have talked about masks that are used for rituals, ceremonies, celebrations and just having a good time. That is indeed what masquerade is all about. But there are other kinds of masks that cover the face for other reasons, especially for protecting protection.

Chapter Forteen

Steampunk and Sex

The recent Steampunk movement has had important influence on art, fashion, and music. Their masks are especially impressive and certainly needed to be in this large reference book. Also included are those associated with sexual bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism, plus a few that simply hide the wearer's identity.

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The Testimonials

Some call this the new Bible for Mask Collectors. If you could have only one book on the subject of masks, this should be your first choice.

Jim Pieper, Author

This is a dictionary of masking that not only looks at the persona of the mask but will aid in defining its use, ethnicity and geographical origin.

Nathan DesJardins, Mask Dealer

After reading this book you will have taken your first course in mask collecting. You will be able to quickly pin-point cultural origin and understand "Degree of Authenticity" which are the cornerstones of researching your treasures.

Bryan Stevens, Author

This book serves as an excellent introductory volume to a vast subject— masks of all types from everywhere in the world. Read it for knowledge or inspiration!

Aaron Fellmeth, Collector

A superb introduction to mask archetypes, and a useful general reference for both new and experienced mask collectors. This book includes both the classic and the unique.

Rand, Tribal Art Dealer

I can’t think of another book that covers such a wide rang of cultures from around the world... from old to new, and from traditional to inspired. I wish that I had a book like this when I first started collecting because I was interested in almost every category of masks. I take myth hat off to Bob for this valuable resource.

About The Authors

Bob Ibold

He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BS in graphic Design, but quickly diverted his career to sales and marketing. After working as an account executive at ad agencies in Cincinnati and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, he started his own business. In the early 1970's, while running Ibold Advertising in Lancaster, he and his wife were visiting the flea markets in Adamstown with another couple, Ike and Terri hay. (Ike was head of the sculpture department at Millersville University where he taught Ibold in night school.) One of their finds was a colorful tourist mask from Mexico which all agreed was a wonderful combination of sculpture and painting. The advertising career ended after 30 years of collecting. Thus began MasksoftheWorld.com, a tribal art website that buys, sells and appraises ethnographic masks. The site also includes a blog called "Ask the Mask Man" which at this writing includes 700 posts and has become especially popular with beginning collectors in Europe and most of the English­ speaking world. The blog is visited by almost 1000 people per day.

Troy Yohn
In the past he authored a comic strip that ran in a weekly newspaper and created numerous quirky animated TV commercials. While oftentimes he spends his days developing advanced algorithms, analyzing game mechanics and fostering technological innovation, he has always had an enthusiasm for ethnographic items from around the world. He's continually drawn to the interesting and unique - whether that be people or artifacts. This has driven him to explore Inca ruins, dig for emeralds, and journey to the Everest base camp. When the opportunity arose to visit Robert "Bob" Ibold (nicknamed "The Mask Man"), there was no way he could turn it down. When he first walked into Bob's house - which feels more like a museum dedicated to masks, books, and other artifacts from across various continents than a house - his imagination was inspired. Not long after their first meeting, they joined forces to work on masksoftheworld.com and subsequently began collaborating on "Masks of the World".

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