• India & Himalayas

    Fake Nepal Ganesh mask

    Q: Hi, after much study I just bought a nice Nepal Ganesh Mask. Can you help me figure out if it is “real” or one made for the tourist trade? It is so border line, either an antiqued great mock up or maybe real. I’m really excited to share this! Larry, 1552 A: Sorry, Larry, but this is an example of a reproduction that was made for the tourist trade and export. I thought some of our less experienced visitors could learn something about recognizing these fakes. Almost all tourist masks are antiqued to make them look old and used. Yours is a good example of the popular tinted-varnish technique.…

  • Europe

    Rottweiler fool’s mask

    Q: In Rottweil, a small town in the South of Germany, they have every year in February a procession with traditional old masks. It’s called the “Rottweiler fool’s procession.” Axel, 1551 A: Thank you. I found a photo on the internet of this event. Also, on May 4, 2018, I posted mask #1354 which was described as follows: TITLE: Fasnet Gschell Mask COUNTRY: Germany SUBREGION: Rottweil ETHNICITY: Swabian German DESCRIPTION: Gschell Narro MAKER: Helmut Kramer CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival) AGE: ca. 1970s-1980s MATERIAL: wood, paint You can access two nice close-ups of these famous masks on this website.

  • Africa

    Bedu mask from Ivory Coast

    Along with this blog, I’m now doing volunteer work for the Phillips Museum of Art at F&M College in my home town of Lancaster, PA. I was especially impressed with this Bedu plank mask from a recently acquired collection. Here it is at the museum entrance with a very pleased researcher. This is one of the largest tribal masks used in Africa, when you combine dimensions and weigh. Typical sizes ranges from five to eight feet high and they can weigh as much as 100 pounds. It is danced at New Years, funerals, harvest festivals and other events, always by the very strongest young men in the Bedu Association in…

  • Europe

    German witch mask

    Our witch carnival mask from Cologne is a molded plastic grey-haired hag face, with a blue and red headscarf and elastic band to hold it for wearing. The Cologne carnival begins on a Thursday six weeks before Easter. It is a time of riotous celebration before the start of Lent. The first day is the Women’s Carnival, and witch masks (although worn throughout the Carnival) are worn on that day in particular. They represent both the benign Wise Woman and the Wicked Witch of German folk tales. In Germany most homes have a ‘house witch’– a fabric model of a witch to bring them good luck, often with a small…

  • Indonesia,  Oceania

    Dayak hudoq mask

    From the Dayak people of the Kalimantan portion of Borneo, the mask is a classical style hudoq depicting a mythical boar, bird and dragon; the face painted in red, white and black, with attached ears, the lobes with remains of fiber cord that once held pendant ear decorations. It is 25 inches high and has never been used. It came from the Cobbs Auctioneers, a company that often comes up with high-quality masks that are not terribly expensive. Can someone explain why a mask of this quality would be antiqued on the front and not the rear?

  • East Asia

    Angry old Japanese man

    This is an authentic Noh theater mask. Though I can tell this character is an angry old man, I don’t know his name. Nor do I know the name of the play, or when it was made and by what carver. Real Noh masks are very well carved and usually have a lot of personality. When I saw this one I could not resist sharing it with my viewers. If you know more about it, please comment.

  • East Asia

    Chinese Nuo mask from Hunan

    Q: I don’t know a lot about the mask.. I’m a care giver and when I was first starting out about 8 years ago we had a lady that was there due to cancer.. she was a traveling artist and bought a mask from every place she traveled..when she past away our boss said she wanted everyone to choose a mask from her wall..for some reason this mask always caught my eye and when I saw no one was choosing it I knew i wanted it and was so happy it was still there..now I’m just wondering more about it. Melissa, 1546 A: Serious collectors of masks should skip this.…

  • Guatemala

    Old cowboy mask from Guatemala

    MasksoftheWorld.com has been on the internet for a long time. As the Mask Man I look at several hundred Mystery Masks every year. Most of them are poorly made “tourist masks” and they always look old and used. I answer the emails but hardly ever post them for you to see. Fakes don’t interest me much. When I saw this beautiful Vaquero on Google I wanted to share it with you. This is what an authentic old-used (Guatemalan) mask should look like. Enlarge it and check out the details. It has been repainted several times and used frequently for many years.

  • Caribbean

    Nicaraguan carnival mask with protection

    Q: I just found this one and have no idea where it’s from. It may be a Latin American carnival mask. If you find a moment please look at my mask collection. I have included a URL to it. I have collected mask for a number of years and have come across several unique ones. I do however find good “tourist” masks and keep them in the collection for their uniqueness and color. Any comments would be appreciated. Vincent, 1544 A: Your thinking in the right direction. Carnival masks from Nicaragua can vary a lot, but most of them are made of firm papier mache and the eye holes are…

  • Guatemala

    Red devil from Guatemala

    Q: You already have one of these masks on your website, the male demon from Guatemala. This is what I am told the female looks like. My mom bought these around the same time I think in the late 50’s. Do you know if it is also from Guatemala? There are eye holes and a hole on the side. I included a side, front and rear picture. Pat, 1543 A: This is the second devil mask from Guatemala we received in two days. Both are of very good quality. This one has a beautiful pair of ram horns on it and is much more common. Most are made for sale…