A carver with his own unique style

Decorative Devil Mask
Decorative Devil Mask

Q:  Hey Bob. I figure this one’s a fake, just thought I’d run it by you to see what you think or what style it looks like. It appears to be wood, 11 1/2 inches by 6, with horns on the face. Found it in an antique store a while ago and thought it looked cool. Thanks.  Matt, 640

A:  You wrote to the right guy. The Mask Man considers Mexican decoratives to be different from traditional dance masks, but equally valid as art. Many collectors disdain decoratives as tourist junk… and most of them are. But Mexican carvers sometimes do there best creative work for the tourist trade. There is another mask by Don Artemio in the Mexico section of this site. Personally, I think both of these devil masks are pretty cool. His style is unmistakeable. C

Diablo mask 11
Patzcuaro, Michoacan
14 inches, wood, paint, goat horns
I believe this decorative mask was made in the 1970’s by a venerable artisan named Don Artemio from Patzcuaro, Michoacan. He has a distinctive carving style (fast, but very imaginative) and always paints with the same shades of yellow, red and blue on a white background. The creatures he creates come in all sizes and shapes, and always coated with a tinted matte-finish varnish. He sells lots of masks to the tourist trade.


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