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Real mask or not

Chinese bamboo art

Chinese bamboo art

Q:  I am super excited to have discovered your site.  I have collected masks since I visited Mexico in the summer of 1995.  My favourite mask is one I bought in Taxco in a store that was just filled with masks.  I know you asked for just one to be submitted but I think the back of the other one is so interesting. It was purchased in an antique store in Honk Kong in 2000. I think I was told it was bamboo root. I don’t buy masks for their value, I really just collect what masks that I enjoy and like to look at.  Lucy, 699

A:  What I said about the previous mask (#698) could apply to the Mexican. Your bamboo root “mask” brings up the issue of what constitutes a true mask. The simplest answer is that it must have been made to be worn. So a real mask must fit over the face and allow the wearer to see. Obviously, your charming little China-man is something else. It could be a souvenir, a wall-hanging, or a piece of decorative art. At MasksoftheWorld.com we tend to avoid items that are not real masks. Of course, there is much mask-like art that will look great on your walls, but we feel the choice of real masks is large enough… and usually better.  C

Categories:   East Asia

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