• Africa

    A version of the Senufo Kpelie mask

    Q:  This mask belongs to a doctor friend who is suffering from dementia. He worked in Cameroon in the 1970s so the mask may come from that area. Unfortunately he can no longer tell me where he got it. Can you help?  Dr. G., 817 A:  Called a Kpelie, these easy to recognize masks are a creation of the Senufo people who inhabit northern Ivory Coast.

  • Bali & Java

    Another old mask from Bali

    I have an antique Javanese mask that I purchased from Japan of all places. Its got exactly this same red pigment paint, and that has flaked in a few places to reveal a lighter pigment of the same color below. See the link to it below. The one I am referencing is the “urban” version. Everything about mine, the age/insect activity,dryness of the wood, patina, cracking in the paint, style etc, all points to this being ca 1900-1930 in my opinion. I suspect the latest in your blog fits squarely into that same time period. Hope all is well. Book looks like it has come along!  Nate, 816 http://www.ebay.com/itm/181637062949?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

  • Bali & Java

    Early Balinese mask

    This is a mask I acquired from Germany about 40 years ago. I was told it was from Bali, but I wouldn’t rule out other parts of Indonesia. It is 13 inches tall and has been repainted several times. It probably represents a high-ranking character in one of the dance dramas. Since it could have been in a German collection for a long while, it could be quite old. It will be pictured in the new reference book we are about to publish. Have you ever seen a Balinese mask this old?  Bob, 815

  • Africa

    Guro Mamiwata mask

    Q:  Thank you for the help on the Dan mask yesterday. I told my friend about your website and the info you provided, and that it was a great help. He gave me this cool snake mask to figure out. Have you ever seen one like this? It measures 13″ x 2 1/2″ x 7″ and is carved wood.  Thad’s friend, 814 A:  I’m delighted to present this mask on the blog because it proves how creative African carvers can be. A mask with matching snakes crawling out of each nostril, and with great sculptural artistry, is seldom seen.

  • Africa

    Dan Deangle masks are very popular

    Q:  I got this mask from an antique dealer who told me it was from the Ivory Coast but I can’t find too may with the beard. 11″ tall x 7″ wide.  Wood has smooth finish on the front and unfinished back.  12 holes in the back. Leather patches under the eyes. Any help would be great. Thad, 813 A: There are regional variations among the masks of the Dan people who live in the western part of Ivory Coast and eastern Liberia, but they are generally characterized by a concave face, a pointed chin, a protruding mouth, an upturned nose and a high-domed forehead.

  • Mexico

    Black-faced mask from Mexico

    Q:  I am a dealer and a good friend and client Dennis Aigner of Laguna Beach, CA suggested I run this by you.  Obtained mostly private estate where most of the material came from Canada. Trying to place this. Any help would be appreciated.  Matt, 812 A:  Several characters in various Mexican dances, including Negros, Moors and Fishermen, have faces that are usually painted black.

  • Unknown

    A real puzzler

    Q:  This mask was a gift from someone who bought it on E-bay. The seller had no information on the origin. Made of light weight wood and shows some repair work along with small nails around the brows and mouth area. some of the wooden teeth look not to be original. It measures 8 x 8 x 8 inches at widest points.  Luis, 811 A:  Occasionally we get what truly can be called a Mystery Mask. I have never seen one that looks like this.

  • Africa

    Unusual African mask

    Q:  I bought this mask from the German eBay last year for 15 euros. No info was provided and I have yet to find out anything about it. I would guess African and Ivory Coast. The backside does seem somewhat polished on the contact points. Thanks for any info in advance, you are a gent.  Jim, 810 A:  If I had to pick an area of Africa where it could come from it would be the northern DRC, formerly the Belgium Congo.

  • East Asia

    Chinese theater mask

    Q:  I bought at a flee market.The material is carved wood, lacquered, and about 20 cm high.  Enrico, 809 A: This is a mask for the Chen He theater of the Hu Nan district in China.  In the Ming dynasty, immigrants from Jiang Xi settled in the then barren land along the river of Chen He. 

  • Guatemala

    Well known Guatemalan mask

    Q:  I inherited this mask from my grandfather who was an art dealer and collector.  He collected African masks, but I doubt this is one.  He was born in Canada in the late 19th century, but came to settle in Riverside California.  When he married, he and his family lived in Beverly Hills where he had a gallery.  He constantly flew back and forth to Paris collecting and selling lithographs and anything Picasso.  I have no idea where he acquired this mask and how he came to give it me…but I’ve kept it all these years and am curious of its origin.  Is it Guatemalian?  808 A: It is Guatemalan,…