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Hammered sheet metal decorative

Silver?

Silver?

Q:  I just found your website. This mask is 19 and a half inches tall by 11 inches wide.  I found it in a dumpster while cleaning out an apartment building full of trash in San Pedro, California. The outside kind of looks like silver if I rub it.  The chin holder on the inside is a softer pliable material more like lead. Notice the animal looking earrings. I hang it over my toilet. Thank you for your time.  Jeremy, 860

A:  This is a popular tourist mask made by a small shop of craftsmen working in Iquala, Guerrero, as early as the 1970’s. Most of the time these almost flat decorative plaques are made out of repoussed sheet metal such as copper. Occasionally silver is used for the wealthier customers. Please try to find out what your’s is made of.  You can see a group of similar silver masks on page 19 of Donald Cordry’s Mexican Masks. He thought they were made circa 1900 in a town called La Parota. Of course we now know that Cordry was often fooled into thinking that artificially aged masks were the real thing. Almost half of the masks pictured in his book are decoratives.

Categories:   Mexico

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