• Mexico

    More info on masks

    Here is a mask of St. Thomas that is from Xochiatipan, Hidalgo, Mexico. On 8/28 you saw a skull mask from Guerrero, Mexico, a Devil from nearby Michoacan, a Guerrero Jaguar, and a whore from Veracruz. If you want to know more about Mexican masks just go to the column on the right and click on “Mexico.” You’ll see 41 recently posted blogs about masks from that same fascinating country.

  • Mexico

    Great mask show in Lancaster, PA

    Masks of Mexico will be on view Sept. 12 – Nov. 8, 2015, at the Lancaster Museum of Art in downtown Lancaster, PA. Here is the museum’s description of the show. This exhibit focuses on the masks that are used in the many rituals and celebrations performed in the cities and small rural villages throughout  Mexico’s various states.  The majority of states with traditions of using masks are represented in this exhibit through more than 200 masks. Grouping all these works together reveal the various forms, styles and colors that Mexican carvers employ.  The masks are made from carved wood, papier-mache, leather, cloth, ceramic, metal and other materials and display…

  • Misc

    Revealing the Trauma of War

    “Brain injuries caused by blast events change soldiers in ways many can’t articulate. Some use art therapy, creating painted masks to express how they feel. Brain trauma from blast force is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, afflicting hundreds of thousands of U.S. combat personnel. Although unseen, the damage strikes deeply into a soldier’s mind and psyche.” This is how a recent article in National Geographic begins. It has lots of pictures of masks made by the recovering soldiers. You can see the whole article by going to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/healing-soldiers/

  • Africa

    Kota Reliquary Figure

    This is a Janus reliquary guardian figure from the Gabonese Republic of West Africa. It would have been used by the Kota people in the mid-19th century. It is actually a piece of sculpture, but people who collect African masks always love them. It is made of wood, copper, brass, iron, cowrie shell and measures 23 × 12 × 5 in. This is a promised gift to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is from Terry and Lionel Bell in honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary.

  • Unknown

    Decorative or authentic

    Q:  Here again I submit a mask that I have not been able to identify. Made of light weight, balsa like, wood. It measures 7.7″ in height x 7″ in width and 3″ in depth. I’ll be grateful for any input on the origin of this mask.  Louis, 823 A:  The Mask Man is stumped again. I just can’t remember where I might have seen something like this before. The front is fresh and may have been repainted. The rear could be showing real usage.

  • Mexico

    Mexican decorative

    Q:  I only have the front view now.  The mask is in my air conditioned storage unit.  If you are interested, I can certainly take the side and rear.  I am interested in your opinion.  Additionally, what do you charge for appraisal?  The mask is hand-carved wood.  Carolyn, 821 A:  Personally, I enjoy masks like this. It can be described as a Mexican decorative probably made in the state of Guerrero.

  • Misc

    Steampunk mask by Tom Banwell

    The Mystery Mask blog’s history is mostly about traditional masks from various ethnic groups around the world. This one is much different. Steampunk is a modern movement that gets some of its inspiration from the writings of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. It celebrates a sci-fi fantasy of a steam-powered age. There are many other kinds of masks for Halloween, parties, celebrations, parades, decorating or just collecting. There are also masks that cover the face for other reasons. Some protect us from possible injury or sickness and others hide the wearer from recognition. These can be quite old or come from unusual places, others are just part of modern-day…

  • Unknown

    Yet another Mystery Mask

    Q:  I picked this mask up at an estate sale, but they could not tell me anything about it. It’s 13″ tall, 8.5″ at it’s widest and about 4.5″ thick. Can you help me figure out where it might be from?  Rick, 819 A:  This is another Mystery Mask the Mask Man can’t identify. Bulging eyes and big teeth rendered in a rough and primitive style. Most likely it comes from an area where the tourists are intrigued by “old tribal masks.”

  • Africa

    Another mystery mask from West Africa

    Q:  I have this mask I recently purchased.  All I know is the original owner got it in South Africa in the 1980s. It is about 9 inches tall. Any help would be great.  David, 818 A:  Sorry, but I can’t help you much other than to say it has the characteristics of several cultures from different parts of West Africa. Though helmet style in construction, it is too small to have been made for actual use. Probably it was intended for sale as a souvenir.