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Panama

Q:  33 inches, painted paper mache believe to be from South America. Got it from a friend as a gift. Had a horn off the top of the head but is missing. The outer horn looks like it was to fit inside another horn that is still inside the mask. Mask is large enough to fit over your head. Can you give approx. value and let us know if this is something we should hold onto?  George, 688

A: From Panama, the people who make these big papier mache Diablico Sucio masks are obviously influenced by the Caribbean, and this is true of other parts of Central America as well It is a large, carefully crafted mask like those used during the Corpus Chisti celebration. Like most Caribbean art, it is derived from both the African and Roman Catholic traditions, practices dating back to Colonial times. Especially after the plague, the macabre and the devil were themes for many celebrations in Europe. In the case of the devil dances in Panama, they all serve a religious purpose. They came to be a vivid image of the battle between good and evil that promoted conversion.

The Mask Man does not do appraisals for free. But I will give your devil mask the letter grade of B-.If it has clearly been used, or if it was nicely repaired, the value would go up somewhat.

Categories:   Caribbean

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