A big mystery


Q: Its big, (2+ feet tall), and heavy. The thing that has me on edge… someone took the time to carve out the back of this mask, yet it has no eye-holes. I cant imagine anyone (any culture) dancing something this heavy especially without a look-out. Moreover, if it was ever meant to be a passive shield tied somewhere etc.. then it wouldn’t likely be carved out on the reverse, right?  Seems like an impressive fake, but not much else. Thoughts?   Nate, 504

A: Of course, it could be a fake, but it could also be authentic. Big faces are sometimes meant to be carried or placed in front of a hut. Removing some wood from the rear will make it easier to carry or could be used for storage. Let’s hope someone recognizes it.


  • Dan

    Very similar to this big, heavy mask that I had guessed was from Ceylon – it’s about 30″ tall, very heavy and hollowed in back, although it does have an opening at the mouth that a wearer could theoretically look through mouthhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/24832951@N00/2263977842/in/set-72157605202506083

  • Aaron

    This is just a wild guess, but it looks a little like a Buto Terong mask from Indonesia, probably Java. The Buto is a giant, frequently depicted with blue faces and large noses in Java. I can’t say anything about the age or why it’s so large, though. Again, just a guess.

  • Amrish Vaidya

    A mask from western India used by a tribe called kokna. From Southern Gujarat or Northern Maharashtra.
    Their masks are typically large, heavy, the wood is thick.May be a processional Image.

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