• Misc,  Unknown

    Building a good collection is hard

    I try to post as many masks as possible. However, for every interesting mask I see, there are several that I can’t publish. Here is a typical answer from the Mask Man for one that won’t get posted. Jeff— I found this mask at a garage sale. The women we bought it from said her husband picked it up from Africa many years ago. It is 11 inches long and 6 inches wide and made from wood. Any information you can give us about this mask would be great. Bob— This is an attractive carving that looks like a mask from Africa. It was made to be sold as a…

  • Europe,  Misc

    Ntanos Blast Mask

    Lots of us like to wear masks to parties and special occasions. Here’s a line of masks that only cost $6.58 each. You have to buy the material and do the construction yourself. Ntanos furnishes the digital file, PDF and paper pattern. The picture shows my favorite. Go to www.etsy.com for more info about this British creation. Your friends will be impressed with your handiwork.  Bob

  • India & Himalayas

    Common Sri Lankan mask

      Q:  Did you get my pictures I sent of my mask?  Candace, 1273 A:  It’s a typical mask from that island culture off the Southern coast of India. Most of the people are Sinhalese who emigrated many years ago from Northern India. Their traditions of masquerade are rich and still in practice today. Unfortunately, Candace has sent us low resolution photos, nothing of the rear, no size or other information. It’s impossible for me to say much about this piece. It could be old and used, or a cheap tourist reproduction that that has been antiqued. I do like the shot that shows the fangs and ears separated from…

  • South America

    Animal mask of Amazon Indians

    Q:  This was gift from a friend  (no longer here) of my husband’s. I have seen nothing similar on the web. I know nothing about it. It appears to be a bat representation. The material may be gourd with raffia.  Amy, 1272 A:   Your mask probably represents an owl. The Piaroa-Huarime Indians who live in the Northern Amazon region (close to the Orinoko River) use masks that mimic many different creatures. The black coating is actually a kind of wax. This is a beautiful example of one I’ve not seen before. It’s condition is perfect. Where do you think your husband’s friend got it?  A

  • Native America

    Indian Moon mask, Pacific Northwest

    This is a large circular mask carved from alder featuring a central human face set in a wide, flat radial border. The mask was made by artist and carver Peter Prevost of British Columbia, Canada and is Haida in style. The rim of the mask is carved wood and the face protrudes outward from the rim and has eye holes plus an open mouth. I got this on an interesting website by the Smithsonian Institution that is called www.grius.si.edu

  • Africa

    Decorative African reproduction

    Q:  I received this mask from a friend who ran a record store in San Francisco in the ’90s and would occasionally buy artwork from a West African trader (country and price unknown). It has fabric flaps that must cover the ears, little floppy ears on top, and a conical headpiece. The tufts of hair may be from a goat or horse, they don’t appear to be human. There are two metal spheres that rattle attached to the lower front edge. There is a white arrow-shaped patch on the crown that appears to be made of plastic or rubber, with red embroidered stitching.  C.C., 1270 A:  This is a reproduction…

  • Europe

    Swiss mask-maker talks about Das Domino

    Chris tells us a lot about the tradition of masquerade in his town. It would be nice if others from the Pacific North West, Japan, Bali, etc. would do the same.  Hi Bob, you are right, Carnival time is coming, or as we say here north of the Alps, Fasnacht, Fasnet or Fasching. I size this opportunity to exclusively present to you and your visitors my own new masquerade for my village’s celebrations. The character is called “das Domino” and it is part of the very traditional masquerade group of the “Nüssler”. You have already some time ago posted another character of the group, the “Blätz” (blog nr 1103). This…

  • Misc

    The art of Paolo del Toro

    On our website we call this art and categorize it under “miscellaneous.” Like almost all of our ethnographic masks it is a combination of sculpture and painting. Pictured here are three large felt masks that can be worn or hung on the wall. Paolo is a young British artist who now lives in Lancaster, PA. I’m told he will soon begin making smaller sized masks. Art masks are rarely this creative. You can contact Paolo by going to apololedroot@gmail.com or you can visit his website.    

  • Europe

    Carnival time is here

    Carnival time in the Western world goes from Jan 1 to April 1, which is Easter. These kinds of masquerades occur in many villages and cities at different dates, but not in Africa or Asia. I don’t know when or where this particular parade happens in Switzerland. In the United States the principal Carnival celebration is in New Orleans, where the Carnival season opens on Twelfth Night (January 6) and climaxes with the Mardi Gras festivities commencing 10 days before Shrove Tuesday. Other places are different. Thus, in Munich in Bavaria the Carnival season, there called Fasching, begins on the feast of the Epiphany (January 6), while in Cologne in…

  • South America

    Precolonial funeral mask

    Q  Here is a mask I have. After research I did not find anything about it, so if you could tell me something I’d be very appreciative.  Jelena,  1266 A  Funeral masks were fairly common for many years until the Spanish arrived about 500 years ago in Central and South America. So is this a careful reproduction or the real thing? That’s an important question that I hope some of our viewers will comment on. I have little experience with ancient artifacts. Wait until you know before selling.