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Classic Javanese dance mask

Raja Putri

Raja Putri

Q:  We got these at a garage sale. I presume they’re Indonesian – Javanese? I have cheekily submitted the two, because they’re so much a pair. They are too small to be actual costume masks I think. Unless worn by children. Any thoughts?  Jessica, 795

A: Javanese dance masks sometimes look small to American and European collectors because we tend to be larger than the Indonesians. I don’t think it is for children. This particular mask could be Raja Putri or some other high ranking member of the court in the classic (more…)


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Wolf man mask from Mexico

Taxco, Guerrero

Taxco, Guerrero

Q:  We found this mask in an old abandoned house in the Utah desert.  Do you have any idea what it is or how old it might be? We don’t collect masks but like looking for cool things.  James, 793

A:  Shiny, sheet-metal masks are very popular in Taxco, Guerrero where thousands of tourists come every day for decor items, sliver and jewelry. (more…)


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Big mask with little snakes

Mexican decorative

Mexican decorative

Q:  I cannot remember if I sent you the picture of this huge, Mexican (I think) mask. Attached is a photo with me. It has several holes on each side that could hold it to a man’s head.  Jim, 792

A:  This “mask” is very big, as everyone can tell by looking at you trying to hold it. Frankly, I have never heard of Mexican’s wearing masks this large at a festival. And there are no eye holes. I think it might have been ordered by a shop keeper or restaurant owner who wanted to attract tourists with an attention-getting carving to hang on the wall. (more…)


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Hawaiian warrior’s mask

Polynesian war helmet

Polynesian gourd helmet

Q: The Hawaiian mask and rattle are a rare find, although obviously made in the last few years.  I’ve been to Hawaii many times and never seen an authentic gourd war mask for sale.  Aaron, 791

A:  We are fortunate that Aaron shares his recent mask purchases with us. This is a very realistic reproduction of a Polynesian warrior’s helmet mask made out of gourd. (more…)


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Female Kifwebe mask from the Songye

Congo area

Congo area

Q:  I found this with a collection of 30 or so other masks at a yard sale. The seller said they were “very old” and had come from Sudan. Some of the other masks have a distinct smoke odor (but not this mask). Measures approximately 16.5″ x 13″ x 7″   Rebecca, 790

A:  The grooved pattern on the face of the mask is a common characteristic of a female Kifwebe mask from the Songye tribe of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (more…)


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Maiden Spirit mask from the Igbo

Southern Nigeria

Southern Nigeria

Q:  I collect masks from countries I visit and have a small collection of 9 at the moment (and hopefully growing).
However, my Nan volunteers at a British Heart Foundation shop and had a wooden mask bought in and has got it for me. I usually like to know where the masks are from. Would there be any way for me to find out where this one is from?  Sophie, 789

A:  That’s what we’re here for. Learning about the mask increases the pleasure of collecting. (more…)


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Lipiko mask from the Makonde

Tanzania, Africa

Tanzania, Africa

The famous Lipiko mask from the Makonde people projects a kind of stylized realism that is unique in African masks. This is a plain one without scarification or applied hair, but with an especially strong and well executed form. From a purely sculptural standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than this. The mask, which slips completely over the dancers head and rests on the shoulders, is about 12 inches deep. aaaMystrySolvd-788-s (more…)


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Especially colorful Hanhoe mask

South Korea

South Korea

Q:  This Asian mask was given to me by a student about 15 years ago. She was Japanese-Korean and the bride of a Vietnamese soldier.  That is about all I know. I am moving to Hawaii this Fall and am trying to downsize.  Thank you for your assistance.  Janis, 787

 A:  This is a Hanhoe mask from the Gyeongsangbuk province of South Korea. (more…)


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Mbuya mask from the DRC

Pende people

Pende people

Q:  I just acquired this mask at an estate sale. It is made of very lightweight wood and appears to be quite old. There is also a kind of fabric made from woven grass attached to the top and lower parts of the mask. The mask measures 11″ x 11″ (including fabric)
or 7″ x 7″ (wooden part only) with a 5.5″ depth. Any information you can provide would be much appreciated.  Simon, 786

A:  The Pende are an important culture that has produced a wide range of masks and other sculptures. (more…)


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NWC raven mask, sort of

reproduction

reproduction

Q:  I have always been interested in African masks but thought this may be a Haida or Tlingit raven mask. I’m just guessing. Is it old or a reproduction? There is a name written inside. I’m not sure but it looks like “Rovea Tona.”  Emily, 785

A:  It is a reproduction of a Northwest Coast Indian raven mask as you said, but serious collectors prefer the masks made by Native American carvers. (more…)


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