Hard to identify Mexican mask

Q:  Here is one of my latest Mexican mask acquisitions… appears to be turn-of-the-century. Do you agree? There is considerable aging… in fact I think I may have fell in love with the aging rings of the wood more than anything. Idea on character? I cant discern if its a hat he is wearing or poking fun at oversized eyebrows to be honest. I also find the two holes at the top of the mask interesting… I wonder what would have once been mounted there. Similarly, it looks like there are square pegs on top to bottom of the mask… again, not sure how that might have been used. Mask measures 8 1/2″ x 6 1/4″.  Nate, 1098
A:  The mask looks old, but its age is difficult to ascertain because of climate, insects, and the rough treatment masks get from carefree usage. (Think lots of beer, pulque, mescal, etc.) I’ve seen recently made Mexican masks that looked even older than yours. Unfortunately, there is no provenance. Could the mask be carbon dated? There are wood experts who know all about zompantle, copal, and all the other trees found in Mexico, which could be helpful.  And let’s hope some of the experienced collectors who read this blog will comment on age, dance or what part of the country it likely came from.



  • Nate

    In true form, here I am commenting on my own topic. I now have my bets on this being a “Feo” i.e. ignorant ceremonial jester…Given the unique shape of the mouth, grid-like teeth, and blocky-nose. And perhaps that large uni-brow?! Crossing my fingers someone with more knowledge than I can confirm or deny.

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