Q: The mask I am sending pictures of is something I picked up in Bali a few weeks ago while on vacation. What do you think? It looks like it may have been used and had been hung for quite a while. By the way, I live and teach in Vientiane Laos and picked up a mask a few years ago at an expat bazaar. What should I be looking for in Laos and northern Thailand? Lance, 802
A: I have seen masks like this before but need some help in identifying the place of origin. The good news is that it is well carved and would be quite handsome hanging on the wall. It could have been made in Bali because they have more mask makers per capita than any country, and most of the carvers there are very skillful. This is not a typical Balinese mask, but lots of different styled masks are made there as well. This nice lion mask was made to be sold as a decor item and is probably not very old. C
Since you can get to the remote parts of Laos and northern Thailand, check out what’s available in the mountain villages. Some of the indigenous tribal people in those areas have traditions of masquerade.