Q: While in Yogyakarta last year, I spotted this Cakil topeng. After discovering the price tag, I spent a week looking for a similar mask of equal quality. Failing, I returned and paid 1.55 million Rupiah (after substantial haggling). A mark carved into the back is the emblem of the Sultan of Yogyakarta. The seller claimed it was at least 60 years old, likely more. An unrelated person recently told me the number of feathers on the wings of the crest indicate the mask was made during the reign of the seventh sultan. This would make it between 95 and 129 years old, but I can’t find anything to substantiate that. I’m confident that it’s seen some use, as the parts of the wood that touch skin when worn are far more worn/smoothed than the rest, but I have no way of knowing if it’s been artificially aged. Rory, 917
A: This wickedly handsome mask would look good in most collections, though it may have been artificially aged. You paid 115 USD, which seems like a fair price to me. If you want to be sure about age, you’ll have to take it to a reputable expert.
Categories: Bali & Java