• Bali & Java

    More about repros

    Q: I bought the mask in an small antique book shop off of Piazza Navona, Rome, in 2016. I paid 100 Euro for it. The store attendant did not speak much English but I got the impression the mask was there for a long time. I liked it as it was reminiscent of a Javanese Monkey mask circa 1920 that I already owned… something about the eyes. The mustache is made of some kind of hair. It is light weight wood and the circle around the nose looks less like a break than paint chipping, but I can’t be sure. I collect but more for enjoyment then anything else. I…

  • Africa

    Babanki elephant mask from Cameroon

    Q: I purchased this mask about 11 years ago while on a study abroad trip in South Africa. Specifically, it was purchased in a shop that dealt in mask. I believe the town was just north of Johannesburg. I’m not sure exactly how much I payed but probably in the neighborhood of $100US. The shop included a label on the back stating it origin (Guru tribe of Ivory Coast) and purpose (royal mask- “A symbol of power for the king exclusively”). It also noted the age to be around 80 years. I don’t know how much of this is accurate. The mask is made of wood and measures approximately 31…

  • Unknown

    Bulbous-nosed Asian mask

    I have searched for a mask like this one to no avail. One of my very-knowledgeable friends can only say that it is probably Asian. I agree, but hopefully some of our viewers can help a little more! Our mysterious Asian measures 10.5 by 5.5 inches. The pictures were taken at angles that make the mask look wider than it is. Not that this is important, but I couldn’t help but noticed how much this mask had been fussed over. Years ago collectors would fix up old, dirty-looking masks to make them more prestigious and “museum-like.” Some of those masks were authentic and came with reliable provenance. Nowadays we would…

  • Guatemala

    Patzcar mask from central Guatemala

    Q: I just received this mask and would like to find out the country of origin. It is painted carved wood and comes from a design shop in San Francisco which is closed right now due to the pandemic. I believe it is newish–looks that way. Originally (in the shop) it was priced at $350. It has a level of refinement that doesn’t really show in the photo. I’m thinking it is from either Spain or Mexico but am uncertain. Scotty, 1704 A: Your mask comes from the mountainous area of Baja Verapaz in the center of this small country south of Mexico. Patzcar is an old dance drama that…

  • Mexico

    Authentic Mexican devil mask

    Q: I’m not sure what we are going to do with the collection yet. We are trying to get them identified and appraised. I’ll look to see if there’s any paperwork on any of them. Jodie, 1703 A: A red devil with horns is one of the most common characters in masquerades all over Mexico. Though quickly made by a carver with limited training, this mask has lots of personality. It has also been danced a number of times in Zampango, Guerrero, and is now about 70 years old. Usage in culture, rather than for sale to tourists and artificially aged to increase value, this mask is more desirable to…

  • Misc

    Paintball protective mask

    This is a Flex 8 Goggle system that offers integrated vents on the jaw that have been strategically designed to encourage deflections and bounces. Features include… Spectra Lens offering 260° field of vision Dual Pane Thermal Lens Dual Fusion Co-molding technology creates this unique venting system Smaller profile to encourage deflections and bounces Includes removable visor Accepts Vortex 2 fan system You can buy different kinds of paintball masks (new and used) for little money. This is true of many other kinds of protective masks for goalies, soldiers, wrestlers, sword fighters, divers, firemen, etc. Sometimes there are older versions that look much different and can be very desirable to serious…

  • Mexico

    Decorative Day-of-the-Dead mask

    If this mask was actually used on an offering table, in a dance or ceremony, it would be considered authentic. This is often the the case with Mexican masks because the village carvers usually sell their extra masks to tourist and shop keepers. Some of you know I have long been a big fan of Mexican masks. Whether the carver is a well-trained professional or a part-timer in a country village, they like to express themselves. This guy wants to have a little fun with his quickly carved skull. The next one he makes may be quite different. But he always is expressing his feelings. Cultural traditions are often followed,…

  • Europe

    Contemporary Greek carnival masks

    Q: I haven’t seen any photos of contemporary Greek masks in the site yet, so I thought I could share one to bring some attention to their great carnival tradition. In the attached picture you can see the main masks of the Boules carnival (Bride and Janissary) from Naoussa, in Greece. I had the opportunity to spend some time with an artisan family that have been making these masks and costumes for generations, and I learned how much tradition there is in every aspect of it (masks & costumes, performances, dancing, etc.). When I got these masks then, I even got the male one custom-fitted to my head! (the in-process…

  • Mexico

    Bearded white man mask

    Q: I AM VERY INTRIGUED WITH THIS MASK, ESTRUSC?, AFRICAN MASK REPRESENTED A WHITE MAN, LONG NOSE. We bought it at an art estate sale. Paintings were what we were looking for, a storage with good paintings and inside we found this mask as well. The former owner was a famous Cuban artist but not a mask collector. Maybe some present from friend or something to keep as decorative art. About price, I can’t say. Juan, 1699 A: I think it is probably from someplace in Mexico or Guatemala. Your idea that it might be an African tribal mask portraying a white man is also worth considering. Appearance of the…

  • Oceania

    Old Melanesian masks

    The first mask is from Northern New Ireland, Papua New Guinea; the second is a Tago mask from Tami Island, PNG; and the third comes from Kamge village in the East Sepik Province of PNG. These are 3 of 17 outstanding masks that represent different cultural groups occupying the large part of the South Pacific called Melanesia. They are all from all from the Australia Museum listed below. You will surely recognize some of them in other famous museums and books. After West Africa, Melanesia has the richest assortment of highly artistic masks in the world. During the 19th century many great European artists were profoundly influenced by the folk…