Masks of the World


A big mystery



Q: Its big, (2+ feet tall), and heavy. The thing that has me on edge… someone took the time to carve out the back of this mask, yet it has no eye-holes. I cant imagine anyone (any culture) dancing something this heavy especially without a look-out. Moreover, if it was ever meant to be a passive shield tied somewhere etc.. then it wouldn’t likely be carved out on the reverse, right?  Seems like an impressive fake, but not much else. Thoughts?   Nate, 504

A: Of course, it could be a fake, but it could also be authentic. Big faces are sometimes meant to be carried or placed in front of a hut. Removing some wood from the rear will make it easier to carry or could be used for storage. Let’s hope someone recognizes it.

Categories:   Unknown


  • Posted: January 14, 2014 16:26


    Very similar to this big, heavy mask that I had guessed was from Ceylon - it's about 30" tall, very heavy and hollowed in back, although it does have an opening at the mouth that a wearer could theoretically look through mouth
  • Posted: January 16, 2014 22:27


    This is just a wild guess, but it looks a little like a Buto Terong mask from Indonesia, probably Java. The Buto is a giant, frequently depicted with blue faces and large noses in Java. I can't say anything about the age or why it's so large, though. Again, just a guess.
  • Posted: May 2, 2016 11:01

    Amrish Vaidya

    A mask from western India used by a tribe called kokna. From Southern Gujarat or Northern Maharashtra. Their masks are typically large, heavy, the wood is thick.May be a processional Image.