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Blind man’s mask

strange mask

strange mask

Q:  I bought this unusual African mask from a local dealer.  He told me it was about 100 years old and from the Ivory Coast.  The seller said it was made by the Yaware tribe and used in ceremonies where the magician needed to enter a very deep trance.  Apparently the lack of eye holes made that more possible.  He also said it was very rare and he’d never seen one like it before.  I’m particularly interested in the mouth with the sharp teeth.  I’d love to find out what spirits or creature this mask represents and what ceremonies it was used for.  I tried to google the Yaware tribe but came up with almost nothing.  The mask has a peculiar, frightening aura about it.  I’m guessing it might have been used to scare off evil spirits?  Would LOVE to know more.  Thank you for any information you can find.   Carlo, 697

A:  After searching there is little to tell. (more…)


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Big, beautiful croc

Burkina Fasso

Burkina Faso

Q:  I have what I think is a Bwa/Bobo crocodile mask that I was told was about 80 years old, from Burkina Faso.  I was wondering if I could send you a few photos of it to see what you might be able to tell me. The closest thing I could find on the web was this:  http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fine-Old-African-Tribal-Mask-Nuna-Bobo-Crocodile-Mask-Burkina-Faso-3-1-2-feet-/321188759293.  Many thanks.  Laurie, 692

A:  That is such a handsome mask, and it is more attractive than the one on eBay. The seller wrote a good description so I’m going to share it with our readers. (more…)


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A favorite type of African mask

Gu mask from West Africa

Gu mask from West Africa

Q:  This mask looks like ebony wood.  It is 20″ x 9″ wide.  It was a gift from a friend who traveled extensively.  I have had it since the 1990’s.  Cheryl, 685

A:  We see thousands of masks of this basic design and, frankly, in never get tired of looking at them. Here is a little more information. (more…)


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Is it as old as it looks?

Lega Kayamba mask

Lega Kayamba mask

Q:  Please check out this mask. The seller says it is old (I know they always say this). If you want I can send you few more close-ups. Your opinion is very appreciated. Reminds Luba but these horns.. And also the stitches, were they made on purpose so the mask looks old? Or are they real? The mask has 2 holes at sides and 3 holes for the beard. This is Kigali, Rwanda. Thank you.  Sayn, 684

A:  It’s a horned Kayamba mask from the Lega people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (more…)


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Hard to recognize East African

Makonde

Makonde

Q:  I purchased this mask from an auction or estate sale and was wondering if you could tell me if it’s a tourist mask or actual tribal. Thank you. David, 681

A:  I was having trouble identifying this mask and asked my friend Aaron to help. His first choice was the Makonde people who live in both Tanzania and Mozambique. (more…)


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A little about authenticity

Baule Goli mask

Baule Goli mask

Q:  I found this at a goodwill store. Just wondering what the background is and if it appears to be authentic.  Nathan, 679

A:  Your mask an attractive reproduction of a classic Goli Kpan mask from the Baule people of Ivory Coast. This type of Goli mask always shows a beautiful women with an elaborate coiffure and elegant scarification. Yours is quickly made and artificially aged, but nicely proportioned and traditional in style. I like it. (more…)


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A pretty girl all dressed up

Dan, Ivory Coast

Dan, Ivory Coast

Q:  I purchased this mask eighteen years ago from an individual. This mask is of particular interest due to its use of materials. Wood mask with hammered metal teardrop under the eye and each is attached with three brads. The mask is surrounded with cloth and crudely sewn. Seashells are attached to the cloth with thread. Two folded over half round circles are attached thru the cloth and have what I assume are rocks in them to make noise. Unfortunately, my wife discarded the certificates of origin. Wood mask size 5” wide X 8” tall. From cloth to  cloth 9“ wide.  From cloth to bells 12.5” tall.  James, 677

A:  Thanks for the good description and the three photos. (more…)


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Beautiful West African mask

Baule, Ivory Coast

Baule, Ivory Coast

Q:  Hello,
I have this African mask, but I am unsure
of its tribal attribution. Can you or any of your visitors assist? Thank you very much!  Andrew, 671

A:  Looks like a Baule or Guro mask from the Ivory Coast of West Africa. (more…)


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Interesting but unusual

Maybe Burkina Faso

Maybe Burkina Faso

Q:  I bought this on ebay years ago. I know nothing about masks, but I like all things old! It is developing significant cracks. There are several small holes that look like they could possibly accommodate feathers of some sort. There are also two small holes on each side that probably were used to attach some sort of string or strap to wear the mask.The mask measures 19 inches by 7 inches. I’m not sure about the type of wood, but it is very heavy. any help would be greatly appreciated.  Chris, 660

A:  The Bwa people of Burkina Faso in West Afrrica is a wild guess, (more…)


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Some African masks are scary

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

A:  This mask was given to me by my mother-in-law who lived in the Ivory Coast from 1948 – 1993. She expressed the rarity of the mask but never explained which tribe it came from. It is 15 1/2 inches from ear tip to ear tip and 11 1/2 inches from top to bottom. My wife’s parents were great collectors of antique African art and when they gave me this mask, they intimated that it was one of the nicer pieces in their collection. Can you please try and identify where the mask came from and if it is truly rare, thanks.  Gary, 659

B: This is called a Kaogle mask (more…)


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