South America

2000-yr-old mask from Argentina

I don’t think any of our viewers could afford an ancient mask like this, but I hope some of you enjoy seeing it as much as I did. Made between 100BC and 250AD by the Alamito tribe of north-western Argentina was recently in the news. It’s smooth, grey-quartz face has a sloping rudder of a nose and five holes: two for the eyes, one for a mouth puckered in confusion, and two at the sides to allow the masks to be tied around the head. It was priced at $135,174. This wasn’t a record. Two years ago a Baule Goli mask fetched $1.4m at Christies (it once belonged to Picasso).

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