Masks of the World


A popular god in Asia



Q: I would like to find out where this mask is actually from and what it represents. I bought it 14 years ago in a decoration boutique in Belgium, where I live, for 100 dollars. The guy told me it was Indonesian, but I’ve always had a doubt. It is made of wood, it is quite heavy. It is rather a wall decoration, as it is not carved at the back. Many thanks for any details you may give me.  Valerie, 580

A: This is a handsome portrayal of Garuda, an important bird-like god that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology throughout Asia. I mean everywhere from Mongolia and Tibet to Sri Lanka and Indonesia you will see Garuda portrayed in masks, statues and other art. Your piece could have been made as a wall-hanging or to be part of something larger, but it is not a mask. It would be nice to know what it was made for, in what country, and how long ago. It could be quite old. Take a large sharp picture of the front, side and rear and send them to some dealers in Asian art for more answers.  A-


Categories:   Oceania


  • Posted: November 11, 2013 16:50

    Josh Markus

    Hello, I would like to inquire if you were selling this mask? Thanks, Josh
    • Posted: November 12, 2013 17:11

      Bob Ibold

      The Mystery Mask blog is for people who want to learn more about a mask they own. does have a For Sale section, but it has nothing to do with the blog.
  • Posted: November 14, 2013 22:56

    Bob Ibold

    Valerie sent in side and rear views of this plaque. The dimensions are 12-8 x 6.1 x 3.5 inches. I thought it was much larger. I still wonder if it's an old piece of architectural detail.
  • Posted: November 20, 2013 00:41


    The politour and tesso basic layer and natural plant colours suggest south india or srilanka. I have some sanni devilsmasks of 1900 ca in my coll which gave me a hunch! and esp the typical srilankan masks eyes!! greetz Leon