India & Himalayas

Finding valuable masks is hard.

Q:  I saw this at an antique store in Iowa. I’m curious, is it a valuable find?  Ashley, 1806

A:  It’s difficult for collectors as well as antique dealers to estimate the value of masks. The label on the side of this one says “tribal mask from the Philippines.” Actually, it’s from the Middle Highlands of Nepal in the Himalayas. That’s a bad start, but you managed to contact me. Now we can deal with age and authenticity.

It would have been helpful if you had also sent scans of the side and rear views. Fortunately, your photo is hi-res, well lit and focused… and I have some knowledge of the folk art in the primitive parts of Nepal. This mask looks old and used to me. It would have been worn by either a shaman or priest for Buddhist rituals.

(Having a reference book  like “Masks of the World” by Ibold & Yohn ain’t a bad idea. Also, accessing this website’s archives for “Masks of the Himalayas” Mar 16, 2018, and “Another Shaman’s  Mask from the Highlands” Sep 18, 2017 are two of my blogs that will help even more.)

Ashley got lucky. Her mask will get an A. When you want some comments from The Mask Man be sure to send him three scans and lots of information including size, who, what, when, where, how much, and anything else you can think off. It’s FREE!


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