• Native America

    From the far, far northwest

    Q: I have several King Island masks like this is one. The estate I got if from was of a man that was very well off and loved to fish for Coho. He was in his 90’s so I expect he got this mask many years ago.  I picked up a few Alaskan treats from the estate. I do not need a full appraisal but it would be great if you could tell me a $ range so I can note it in my insurance folder. This particular mask is 7.25 in high, 5 in wide and 3.75 in to tip of nose. The mouth is 2 in, the eyes 1.25 in.…

  • South America

    Black face mask

    Q: I am looking to identify these masks. There are three that are made in the same style but with different facial features. The paint is the same on all, making me think they are for the tourist market, I am just not sure where. One has large lips and two have large noses of different styles. I have a few African masks and other tribal art. I inherited these three from my father and am unsure of their origin. Can you help? Thanks so much for your time. I have googled and the closest I think I have found is Sri Lanka, but I may be far off. I…

  • Africa

    Decorating vs. Collecting

    Q: We purchased this mask recently from a man trying to get rid of some personal items. We love the combined mask basket look of it but, realize it is not an authentic worn mask. We however do not know what this style of mask is called. We would like to get more for declarative purposes but, searching basket mask on the internet does not provide any help in what they are called. Hope you can shed some light on a name. Thanks in advance.  Carolyn, 625 A: You can call this a West African tourist mask that looks like, and actually may be, from the Baule people of Ivory…

  • Guatemala

    Beat-up Guatemalan still here

    Q: I purchased this mask from a small auction house here in England a few years ago.  It measures approx 14 inches by 6 1/2. It is of zoomorphic form and appears to have been painted at some time. At the top of the mask there appears to have been a hood attached and you can see where this has split out above the two larger holes there is only a tiny tuft still threaded through from the centre hole. I also think it may have had ears at some stage. carved from a heavy hard wood. .Any info would be great. Thanks, Robert, 624 A: Thanks for working so…

  • South America

    Always go for quality

    Q: I just discovered this mask (have not bought it) and have no idea what it is.  The seller doesn’t either.  It bears some superficial resemblances to some forms of Bulgarian Kuker masks, but I’ve never seen one in leather like this.  It might be an American folk mask for all I know.  What do you think?  Aaron, 623 A: I hope you buy it. It is the work of a talented artist, probably European.

  • Mexico

    The famous Barbones mask

    Q: Wanted to run a mask past you for a quick glance. You may have already seen this floating around, but I’m currently trying to decide whether to purchase. Problem is that neither I, nor the seller have much of an idea of what we have. After looking on your site, I suspect it may be a Barbones mask from Mexico – decorative, 20th century (as opposed to the seller’s opinion of 19th century). The carving just seems so fine, it would seem too difficult for a regular folk artist.  John, 621 A: Your analysis is correct. Let me add a little.

  • Unknown

    Mystery mask indeed

    Q: The attached mask was part of the Chicago collection lot that I acquired last year. It was part of a bulk lot of Mexican masks, but this one is certainly NOT Mexican. It is carved from heavy wood, and I’m fairly sure it’s African, but anything beyond that, I have no clue. I made this a present to my ex-wife, who collects African masks. She likes it a lot, but would like to know more about it. Do you have any clues about this one?  Helmut, 620 A: That is a very interesting mask. I have never seen anything like it.

  • Africa

    Sometimes it takes a while

    Q: I was told by a German collector this mask was worn during tribal ceremonies but, no other information was known. It needs some restoration, I think. Not knowing where it is from means I’m not sure what it is suppose to look like. I have asked many people and one person said possibly Tchokwe but, with lack of symbol on the forehead could not be certain. It is made of a wood front and burlap(?) back with a fiber material attached to that and appears hand sewn. It would in fact accommodate a head but, it would be a snug fit. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.  Carolyn,…

  • Bali & Java

    One of many Balinese characters

    Q: I have a carved wooden noh mask and I can’t seem to find one quite like it. Some help concerning the age, authenticity and possibly value would be greatly appreciated.The mask seems like it has a little age but doesn’t seem used. The strips of animal skin with hair for the eyebrows and mustache seem older and dry, and the tacks holding them in are a bit rusty. The mask is about 5-3/4 inches wide and 7-1/2 tall.  Tyler, 618 A: Japan is a country where they take masquerade very seriously and so is Bali (part of Indonesia).