A little about authenticity

Baule Goli mask
Baule Goli mask

Q:  I found this at a goodwill store. Just wondering what the background is and if it appears to be authentic.  Nathan, 679

A:  Your mask an attractive reproduction of a classic Goli Kpan mask from the Baule people of Ivory Coast. This type of Goli mask always shows a beautiful women with an elaborate coiffure and elegant scarification. Yours is quickly made and artificially aged, but nicely proportioned and traditional in style. I like it.

Authentic means that the mask was made and used in the specific culture. Authentic masks, the kind you see in books and museums, are rarely available for purchase in today’s market. If they are, the dollar price will have four or five zeros… then a decimal point! The good news is that authentic African masks have continued to evolve in some communities and they will gradually become available to collectors. They’ll be hard to find for while. Look for lots of color and other innovations. C

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