• Mexico

    Old Huave mask from Oaxaca

    Q: Just acquired this mask from a third party who travel to Oaxaca frequently. In one of the many trips, they purchased this mask. Seeking any information, confirmation (region) or opinions. The mask measures 7.5″ h 5.5″ w 4.5 d and is made of hard wood. There are some minor signs of termite damage. Louis, 832 A: The Huave people occupy a few small villages in Western Oaxaca close to the Pacific Coast of Mexico. They make a lot of unpainted wooden masks, often decorated with armadillo shell and bristles of animal hair.

  • India & Himalayas

    Mask from somewhere in India

    Q: This mask looks familiar, but I can’t quite place it. It definitely seems Himalayan. Is it maybe a Monpa mask from Tibet? I’d love to get your opinion. Aaron, 831 A: I don’t think it is Himalayan. Perhaps a little further south in India, maybe all the way to Sri Lanka. I would be glad to put it on the Mystery Mask blog, especially if you would send a little more info. Then Aaron writes: I don’t think it’s Sri Lankan.

  • Native America

    A pair of mystery masks

    Q: We ended up with two masks we could not identify. Could you help us out please. Thanks so much, Norb (Visitors should know that Norb is constantly visiting estate auctions where he always wins the best items for a reasonable price. You can visit his store at www.estateauctionsinc.com 830 A: I can’t remember ever seeing masks like these two. Obviously, they are from the same culture and time period. I suspect they were used in culture, perhaps a long time ago. If I had to make a guess, I’d say they’re both from Alaska. If that turns out to be true, they would be of great interest to serious…

  • Europe

    Traditional folk art from the Alps

    Q: The mask in the photos was purchased at an auction. The husband and wife were both university professors – she taught art and he taught history. They had many South American and American Southwest items. They also had a lot of older Chinese and Japan pieces. We purchased a Thai mask, but this one was intriguing. There was no provenance as there was no family left to validate where this mask was from. The mask measures (measuring from the back side) 9.5″ tall and 7.25″ wide. This does not include the trailing mustache.

  • Africa

    It reminds us of the Congo

    Q: Hi Bob, I found this small mask at an estate sale this weekend. It is made of carved wood and measures 8″ in length, 4.5″ in width and 3″ in depth. The owner described it as a “Wisdom mask from the Congo”. Any further information would be much appreciated. Thanks, Simon, 828 A: Yes, this mask looks like it came from the Congo region. Perhaps it is a “wisdom mask.” But I don’t think we can attribute it to any particular culture or think of it as a true example of

  • Mexico

    More info on masks

    Here is a mask of St. Thomas that is from Xochiatipan, Hidalgo, Mexico. On 8/28 you saw a skull mask from Guerrero, Mexico, a Devil from nearby Michoacan, a Guerrero Jaguar, and a whore from Veracruz. If you want to know more about Mexican masks just go to the column on the right and click on “Mexico.” You’ll see 41 recently posted blogs about masks from that same fascinating country.

  • Mexico

    Great mask show in Lancaster, PA

    Masks of Mexico will be on view Sept. 12 – Nov. 8, 2015, at the Lancaster Museum of Art in downtown Lancaster, PA. Here is the museum’s description of the show. This exhibit focuses on the masks that are used in the many rituals and celebrations performed in the cities and small rural villages throughout  Mexico’s various states.  The majority of states with traditions of using masks are represented in this exhibit through more than 200 masks. Grouping all these works together reveal the various forms, styles and colors that Mexican carvers employ.  The masks are made from carved wood, papier-mache, leather, cloth, ceramic, metal and other materials and display…

  • Misc

    Revealing the Trauma of War

    “Brain injuries caused by blast events change soldiers in ways many can’t articulate. Some use art therapy, creating painted masks to express how they feel. Brain trauma from blast force is the signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, afflicting hundreds of thousands of U.S. combat personnel. Although unseen, the damage strikes deeply into a soldier’s mind and psyche.” This is how a recent article in National Geographic begins. It has lots of pictures of masks made by the recovering soldiers. You can see the whole article by going to http://www.nationalgeographic.com/healing-soldiers/