Masks of the World

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A real puzzler

Who am I?

Who am I?

Q:  This mask was a gift from someone who bought it on E-bay. The seller had no information on the origin. Made of light weight wood and shows some repair work along with small nails around the brows and mouth area. some of the wooden teeth look not to be original. It measures 8 x 8 x 8 inches at widest points.  Luis, 811

A:  Occasionally we get what truly can be called a Mystery Mask. I have never seen one that looks like this. But it certainly gets my attention and appears to be authentic (not made for commercial sale). It could possibly come from Africa, Asia or Mexico in my humble opinion. I hope some kind viewer will recognize it and share their guess with us. If I had a top 10 Mystery list, this would go on it!

Categories:   Unknown

Comments

  • Posted: July 21, 2015 16:50

    Chris

    Nice. The closest thing coming into my mind would be the Hopi - the eyes and the attached nose and the general strangeness would match. However, the upper part of the head would generally not be open like that of your mask - that is a disqualifier, but it seems that an unconventional Hopi carver would be good for anything. A second guess would be the Amazon tribes - they often do strange-seeming carvings with lightwood. Let's hope someone has more of an expertise than this comment...
  • Posted: July 22, 2015 23:19

    Aaron

    The eyes look African, but my gut says Mexico or Guatemala. The separately attached nose and the shape of the back are sometimes seen in Mexican masks (Don Teodoro, for example, often used a separate piece of wood for the nose), and the decisively U-shaped back is common in that region. The long sideburns are also a common feature of Moro, Vaquero, Español, and Pastor masks from Mexico and Guatemala. But like Bob and Chris, I've never seen anything quite like this one. So that's my two cents.
  • Posted: July 24, 2015 16:33

    Aaron

    By the way, if I'm wrong and it is African, my first guess would be a Bangwa mask from Cameroon, due to the puffy cheeks, rectangular eyes, and sharp teeth. See: http://www.artvalue.com/auctionresult--bangwa-culture-cameroon-mask-of-kun-gan-society-2439145.htm and https://36.media.tumblr.com/655a997e7124f3142991750c6fc17042/tumblr_msz7b0gR6l1st8ta4o1_500.jpg