Bali & Java

Garuda mask from Bali

GarudaQ:  I just got this mask from an Indonesian trader in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She claims it was made in rural Sarawak, Borneo. It is entirely carved out of wood (type unknown) and despite looking weathered and old, I believe it is relatively new. The price was MYR150 (less than USD40). Size-wise, it is approximately 8 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide. I’d be interested to know what type of mask this really is. The trader said it is not a Garuda, but nevertheless a bird design that they treat as a lucky charm.  Derrick, 976

A:   Your attractive mask is a Garuda, inexpensively made in Bali for the huge tourist and collector markets.  Garuda had a huge wingspan, which was said to block out the sun. This famous deity, the flying horse of Vishnu and enemy of serpents, has played a major role in both Hindu and Buddhist cosmology for centuries. I think it looks beautiful on your wall… and was a bargain for $40!  B-

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