• Mexico

    Unusual Mexican bird mask

    Q: Looking through your older posts, I saw an unknown mask (Nov. 2013) which resembles one I have. Mine has a bird on the front. Very light wood. Bought with another one at a flea market. It has a tag inside which has the following: S. Pedro Teozacoalco. dist. Zaaohila. Mexico. It also has the following (which I translated using google translations): “The godmother of the bride (or groom) mask. Used during the blessing ceremony.” Any thoughts on its age, or what the inscription S. Pedro Teozacoalco means? Mickey, 855 A: I asked Bryan Stevens, the most knowledgeable collector of Mexican masks I know, about this.

  • Africa

    Pwo mask from the Congo

    Q: I found this mask the other day at a local thrift shop. The wooden portion is about 12″ tall, 6″ wide, and 2″ deep. It has carved decorations on the face including a swastika on each side of the chin. There is a wicker armature attached to the mask that holds the hair in place. On the inside of is what looks like sheets of moss. There is a knot, about 2″ wide, like a bun, in the hair at the top of the head. The hair is a mass of pieces of crude rope. Some of the rope ends are cut and others have large knots tied in…

  • Bali & Java

    Comedy character from Java

    Q: “I will always answer your email.” Quote from you, Bob. Well, I haven’t heard word one from you. I first submitted my mask about a year ago, I think. When I hadn’t heard anything for several months and reviewed your site and did not see it, I resubmitted my photos. Still no word. I’m still very interested in any information you might give me. Let me try this again. Joanne, 853 A: Joanne, thank you for being so patient with me. I hope I can deserve it.

  • Caribbean

    Diablico Sucio carnival mask

    Q: This is a very large mask, made from paper. It has horse teeth and screens where the eye holes are. I think it is Mexican, but do not know where in Mexico it was made. I would like to find out more information about this mask. I do not remember where I bought it. I usually haunt thrift shops and flea markets. Mickey, 852

  • Africa

    Central African mask with nasty smile

    Q: This was my brother’s, who was a catholic priest and served at least two seasons at a mission school in Kenya around 1970. Kikuyu. He may have been given this mask, along with some other things, when he left there, or he may have bought it. He also traveled around I’m sure. Mask is 13.5 in tall, wood is lightweight and looks to be blackened, maybe with a stain. John, 851 A: Neither the Kikuyu people or other groups in Kenya use masks.

  • Africa

    Punu mask from Gabon, West Africa

    Q: I have bought this mask on a second-hand market. There was no further information about it, I would be delighted to know where the mask is coming from and whether it is authentic. The mask smells like fire but there are no burn marks to see. There are traces of use, for example, to see on the inside left is a dark spot, it looks like of the face often scoured against that spot. At the 2 holes you see that the rope has left traces there. Yber, 850 A: I apologize for taking so long to answer. We have been working on this website for several weeks.

  • Africa

    A popular mask from Ivory Coast

    Q: We inherited this from my grandfathers estate. It was a gift to him from one of his traveling friends. He died in 1975, so it is older than that. No other info, just curious about it. I grew up calling him “Alfred” and have fond memories of it. Katie, 846 A: If you look at this blog’s “Africa” category, you will see many masks similar to this one. It is a Kpelie mask from the Senufo people of Ivory Coast, West Africa. Its design and decorations can vary considerably.

  • Africa

    A famous women’s society mask

    Q: I have two Masks which I inherited and that I would like a quote on for an appraisal. Hopefully you can help me with this. Here is the 1st mask. Thanks, Len, 845 A: I will be glad to appraise your two masks and will respond separately. In the meantime, I want our viewers to see this Sande Women’s Society helmet mask made by the Mende people of Sierra Leone, and used for various rights of passage in that culture.

  • Mexico

    Devil or bird?

    Q: This mask weighs only five ounces. It is around 10-11″ tall and 7″ across the forehead. I acquired it from a long time antique collector/hoarder in Central Alabama. Any assistance you could provide in identification would be most helpful. Kathy, 844 A: From somewhere in Mexico, this strange little guy is quite a character. Unfortunately, it has never been painted. Mexicans like to finish their masks with bright colors. However, they occasionally leave them unpainted for the tourist trade.

  • Africa

    From somewhere in West Africa

    Q: I was wondering what the origins of this particular mask are. A friend of mine acquired it through a house clearance shop but we cannot really tell you anything about where it came from. The hollowed out rear seems to have been burned out, as it is blackened by soot. It is also made of a quite strong smelling wood, possibly to do with age. This specimen is about a foot in total length, from chin to top of the hair. Thank you in advance. Perry, 843 A: This is a black helmet mask that combines many features of various West African cultures.