|Q: You recently answered a question about a mask I was looking at. You suggested purchasing true artifacts or quality replicas. Are the NOVICA masks considered quality replicas? I appreciate all your help. Ray, 1124
A: I admire that NOVICA (owned by National Geographic) for representing artists from third world countries and paying them more than they would get from other buyers. The first Baule ram mask was made by one of their talented carvers. It can be purchased from NOVICA at a very reasonable price. The second mask is from another internet dealer and its price is five times higher. It looks like it’s old and used, but that was achieved artificially.
To the experienced collector, NOVICA can only be a source for a few traditional masks. Their inventory is devoted to decorative wall hangings. NOVICA’s masks are not true replicas. I would call them well-made tourist souvenirs or airport art… styles that most of the world prefers. C
There are actually no ‘real’ Baule ram masks.
They are a style invented in the 1980’s for tourist trade
Thank you, Eric, for that comment. Collectors need to hear this over and over again, that the production of masks has been a very important source of income to Africans for a long time. The market for masks used to be in Europe, but in the 20th and 21st centuries, also includes the US and all of the worldwide UK.
I love this mask