South America

Euro-Mexican mask

aaaMystrySolvd-1003-aaaaMystrySolvd-1003-bQ:  I purchased this mask about 10 years ago from an online auction where it was described as a Mexican “Ranchero” mask. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much more detail from the listing. I was hoping you, or someone who visits your site, might recognize this style of mask, and perhaps identify the region it came from. It’s certainly the work of a highly skilled craftsman. The wood is thick, but very light, and there are four heavy duty staples around the perimeter for straps. The inside is smooth and nicely contoured for comfort. I don’t think it was ever used, but it was definitely made to be worn.  Dan, 1003

A:  What a beautiful mask! I agree with everything you say. But those eyes are done in a European folk mask style. My guess is that one of the talented professional carvers from somewhere in Mexico carved it that way for fun (or profit). The scan of the back looks more Mexican than European.  A

Comments from others have convinced me this handsome masks is from the mountains of Ecuador.





  • Nate

    Looks like an Ecuadorian made mask done to look like it’s Mexican. The oversized white oval eyes with perfectly circular cutouts seems to suggest that conclusion. In any event, I wholeheartedly agree with Bob’s conclusion that its one culture trying to represent another’s and its finely carved.

  • Bob Ibold

    Nate’s right. Ecuador is also a possibility. The value of the mask will increase if the location is determined, and even more if the carver can be identified.

  • Dan

    I would disagree
    other than the large round eye holes, the mask doesn’t resemble any I’ve seen from Ecuador.
    The style of carving, weight of the wood (very light) and skilled painting are all signs of an accomplished Mexican carver. Perhaps someone with experience carving religious figures

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