• Oceania

    Classic Sepic River mask

    Q:   I have recently inherited 2 south pacific masks from my parents which they collected when on a trip during the 1980’s. I was wondering if you can tell me more about them. I have photos but can’t attach to this email. Hope you can reply and I can send you this pictures. Think 1 is from Papua New Guinea / Vanuatu.  Gerry, 945 A:  Thanks for sending the pics. I will comment on the mask with more detail and precision. It is a beautiful example of PNG work. Please go to “Oceania” and scroll down to post #899. What I say there applies to this one as well. Also,…

  • Africa

    Another West African hybrid

    Q:  Found this mask in a old home clean-out in Oak Park, IL. Owner was a ww2 vet who was an Air Force Colonel when he retired years ago.15” long and 7” wide ear to ear. I d’ like to know approx. age and tribe if possible.  Matt, 944 A:  Some African specialist, many of which are members of the Yahoo African_Arts group, may be able to guess where this is from. Most of the design elements are probably borrowed from several different tribes in the same general area. Another factor that will complicate the search is that the carver is inexperienced. Unfortunately, from the small size of your photos,…

  • Guatemala

    Guatemalan bull mask

    Q:  Torito con cascabel is the Spanish name for this. This was one of my father’s favorite masks. Cascabel in Spanish means a little round bell with a pellet inside, like what we would call a jingle bell. He said the big tongue was special. (not sure why!)  Joan, 943 A:   This is one of the nicer Torito masks I have seen, even though one of the bells is missing. It appears to have been used a lot, repaired, and repainted.  The colors are quite unusual and very eye-catching. Bull masks are always in the Toritos Dance, as well as the Patzcar Dance and a few others. We see a…

  • Mexico

    Mexican mystery mask

    I have been collecting Mexican masks since about 1975 and still there are some that I can’t identify. This one has a height of 9 inches and is covered with rows of ridges you can’t help but notice. Otherwise it has all the characteristics of Mexico. Since discovered in a flea market about 35 years ago, I have never seen one like it. What do you think?

  • Africa

    Baule Ram Mask

    Q:  I have very special pieces of Masks from Côte d’Ivoire to sell. My dad actually bought them in 1982. Let me know if you are interested.  Ali, 941 A:  The Baule people are an important ethnic group residing in Ivory Coast. This ram mask has been modernized slightly to make it more decorative and appealing to buyers. It is indeed an attractive wall decoration. However, I rarely buy anything sent to the Ask the Mask Man blog, nor do I furnish full names or addresses of the contributors.

  • South America

    Chane Indians from NW Argentina

    This mask was one of many Kathleen discovered in the storage unit she won at auction. It is an animal, perhaps a rabbit, that I would like to know more about. It is very appealing. Note the design, the teeny cheeks, and the marvelous little lips. I hope someone knows more about it and will share a comment with us.

  • Africa

    Beautiful Guru maiden

    Q:  Recently I found this mask that really intrigued me in Dubai at a small shop where Africans were selling authentic African masks. It is a wooden mask, about 39 cm in length (about 26 excluding the bird on top) and about 15.5 cm wide. I paid about $150 for the mask. They told me it originates from Gabon and was used to ward off evil spirits. I really hope you can tell me more about this mask, it’s origin (maybe tribe) and use. Especially the bird really interests me.  Jacqueline, 939 A:  Masks for tourist and export are being made in Gabon and many other places. This piece follows…

  • Oceania

    Lovely piece of PNG art

    Q:  Purchased in antique store for $35.00. All wood. Measures 30″H x 10″W. Has shells for eyes and a carved bird on the top. It has a string for hanging on the back. I have looked at a lot of masks and can’t quite identify this or put a value on it. Can you help?  Charlene, 938 A:  Thanks for the sharp photos of the front, side and rear. Good photos are always a big help to me. Papua New Guinea represents the last indigenous culture to be discovered by collectors. Now a few talented carvers are making especially nice pieces for the market. This particular mask is traditional in…

  • India & Himalayas

    Large Indian mask

    Q:  I have been trying to research this mask. I know it is from India but I am not sure if it is Ravana or Shiva? Also an age? I think it is late 19thC, early 20thC but someone has recently told me it was older? It is a large mask at 19″ inches in Length and 12″ wide and 7″ deep.   Josh, 937 A:  Shiva is a female deity, so it could be Ravana or some other male character. Unfortunately, there is no reference book about Indian masks to tell us the character’s name, the festival for which it is used, area it comes from, etc.  A careful search…

  • India & Himalayas

    Sri Lankan healing mask

    Q:  I purchased this mask at an online auction over 10 years ago for around $60. It was listed as a large mask from India, over 100 years old.  It is old, and big (21″H x 11″W x 9″D), but I’m not sure it’s Indian or over 100 years old. It’s completely hollowed out in back and has eye holes, so it could have been worn, but it’s vey heavy.  It also has holes in the “bun” on top, with nails driven into it, and holes and nails around the perimeter of the mask.  I’m sending these photos in hopes that you, or someone that follows your blog, might be…