Guatemala,  Misc

Authentic new Guatemalan masks

Q: Attached are two views of mask made by Moises Lopez, Tactic, Guatemala, and one of his unfinished masks. I like unfinished mask and will purchase them if I can convince the mask maker to give one up before it is painted.

I also have some masks that were purchased in Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, and most are from Mexico. Some are gifts, some bought from make, some are tourist, some not. Janet Brody Esser confirmed Michoacan masks, but no estimate of value. What would it cost to appraise them? Jeri, 1686

A: The book “Masks of the World” describes in detail how authenticity affects the value of masks. Most valuable are the masks that have been used repeatedly in culture. Next come those new masks that have been sold to collectors or museums instead of being danced in the village. Your Guatemalan Cowboy falls into this category. The unpainted Pedro Alvarado would fall slightly behind the Cowboy. There are several more categories ending with the poorly-made carvings the have been roughed up to look old. A- and B+

Estimating the cost of an appraisal requires seeing all of the masks and knowing some of their provenance. It also helps to know what kind of pricing breakdown will be required. I like to get as much info from my clients as possible. Bob



  • Jean

    The unfinished one is probably intended to be an “Alvarado”, considering the frown and the splitted beard, and the other one a conquistador or cristiano.

    But what is really uncommon is the fact that, although done in Alta Verapaz (Tactic), both are carved in the style of the classic Quiché models, very different from the usual masks used in Alta Verapaz.
    Influence between provinces or production to appeal the tourists ?

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