• Africa

    New 3-piece model

    Q: This is the way I think the mask was supposed to be worn. The wicker and leather cap on top of the head are held on with the chin strap. The grass and leather is very dry and fragile and I was reluctant to force anything into position. Thanks for any help you can give. I really appreciate it. This is a hard one to display. Maybe a wig stand? Hate to beat it up anymore, it really should be preserved to some degree. I feel it is old and authentic, but the wooden chin guard doesn’t seem to have the same sense of age.  Don, 608 A: Your…

  • Bali & Java

    Unusual mask from Java

    I’m working on a large reference book that will probably be called “Masks of the World.” (If you can think of a better idea for the title, please let me know.) Having just finished the Bali/Java section I though I’d share this one with you. Character Mask Java 7.5 inches, wood Mask collecting always has some surprises. Look at this wonderful little mask with its carvings on the crest, that very unusual mouth, and the way those simple parallel lines are used. It’s a shame we can’t identify the carver.  

  • Africa

    Nice mask from Mali

    Q:  I picked this and another mask up in Mali some years ago. Don’t know anything about it. Made of a fairly heavy dark wood and inset with what looks like bone or polished kernel and colored beading.  Any info greatly appreciated.   Rick, 606 A: Thanks for the pic of the lovely mask, despite that strong background it must compete with.

  • Africa

    Another African hybrid

    Q: I found this mask in the back of a small shop in southern Kenya. It is about 13 inches tall, 10 inches wide, and 5 inches deep. The mask seems to be made of a dark wood, perhaps ebony, and has what appears to be small amounts of clay inside. The carving technique leaves flattish hexagonal shapes all over the mask. I don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard that you really know your stuff. A: Nice looking mask.

  • Unknown

    A big mystery

    Q: Its big, (2+ feet tall), and heavy. The thing that has me on edge… someone took the time to carve out the back of this mask, yet it has no eye-holes. I cant imagine anyone (any culture) dancing something this heavy especially without a look-out. Moreover, if it was ever meant to be a passive shield tied somewhere etc.. then it wouldn’t likely be carved out on the reverse, right?  Seems like an impressive fake, but not much else. Thoughts?   Nate, 504 A: Of course, it could be a fake, but it could also be authentic.

  • Bali & Java

    A Barong mask that seems too small

    Q: Bob, what are your thoughts on this little guy? I am surprised not to see fasteners, or some sort of unpainted seam at the back end of this for some hood for the dancer… that said, the details, such as the well carved eyes and fangs make me strongly assume this is authentic ethnographic and not tourist. Do they make a variant of these that are intended to be smaller/lighter, and not had the dancer (i.e. perhaps one that is more interactive with the audience?) This one is 8 inches long (11 including handles), 7 inches wide, 7.5 inches tall. A: I have seen some that are about this…

  • South America

    Classic mask from the Amazon

    I thought you might enjoy seeing the masks I’ve acquired since we last talked. The Wayana mask was hard to find, and I’m being rewarded now with dried leaf flakes scattered all over my house.  In the meantime, I’ve been editing my photos from Thailand and Cambodia, which include some amazing antique Khon masks from the National Museum in Bangkok and the Royal Palace and National Museum in Phnom Penh.  I’ll show you those when they’re ready – nothing being produced today even comes close to those old ones.  Aaron, 601 A: I love being kept up to date on your acquisitions.

  • Guatemala

    For Guatemalan mask owners

    Nate sent in some interesting stuff. You will want to follow these links. Bob, i found this article fairly interesting. Namely, the picture of the cross-section of paint layers was rather shocking to me… I’ve seen masks before were one could visually count 5-6 layers of paint.. but its all the more rare to see them shown as rings of a tree… really hits home the cultural use of these… Full article: http://www.penn.museum/blog/collection/conservation/conservation-of-masks-for-maya-2012-lords-of-time/ Layers of paint: http://www.penn.museum/blog/conservation/conservation-of-masks-for-maya-2012-lords-of-time/attachment/leica-picture/

  • Africa

    It certainly is African

    Q: I obtained this from a friend, who’s great uncle lived in Africa and collected various weapons, musical instruments, and of course mask. The white that outlines the eyes, ears, and mouth is some sort of gritty paint that can be scratched off. The mask is about 15 inches tall including the burlap top( 9 inches from the top of the forehead to chin) it is 7 and 1/2 inches across. The cone on the top seems to be made of straw and covered with burlap. Would love to know where it originated from and its purpose …if in fact it is an authentic mask. Thanks in advance for you…