India & Himalayas

Mask from somewhere in India

Have you seen this man?
Have you seen this man?
Q: This mask looks familiar, but I can’t quite place it. It definitely seems Himalayan. Is it maybe a Monpa mask from Tibet? I’d love to get your opinion. Aaron, 831

A: I don’t think it is Himalayan. Perhaps a little further south in India, maybe all the way to Sri Lanka. I would be glad to put it on the Mystery Mask blog, especially if you would send a little more info.

Then Aaron writes: I don’t think it’s Sri Lankan. They never use eye holes in the pupils, always under the eye. The seller did not know where it was from – first he said African, then Indonesian or South American. He was just shooting in the dark. My only other information is that the back is painted black, which is unusual. The ears are very long, going from the brow to the mouth, with divots at the bottom. The teeth look like a bit Javanese teeth I’ve seen before, but Indonesians also don’t use holes in the pupils. I’m thinking, if it’s not Himalayan, it’s northern Indian. Please do circulate it to the blog!

My reply: India is a huge country with many different cultures that use masquerade. Unfortunately, very little has been written about them. I suspect this will change as that great country continues to prosper and grow. In the meantime, I hope someone will share a comment with us on this interesting piece of folk art.

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