East Asia,  India & Himalayas

Old mask from India or Thailand?

Q:  This mask has just been restored. It had suffered serious damage in storage. I would be interested to know its origin and its age. The conservator believes it is probably 17/18th century from Thailand, repainted red in the 19th century to bring it “up to date” with the craze for Indian artifacts at that time.   John,  1478

A:  The restoration expert did a good job and could be right about age and location. Please tell me who she/he is. Occasionally I’m asked for a recommendation.

The mask is Hindu, but I can’t name the character or god. Also, it may be from India or Nepal… and the age is more likely early 20th century.  I hope someone will help us correctly identify this beautiful old mask.   A

One Comment

  • Fabrice

    This mask is beautiful and indeed, seems to have been very well restored.
    In my humble opinion, I will opt for a Kolam mask of Sri Lanka with a “scarce” old representation of Queen Maname.
    I also think, as Bob, it dates from the end of the 19th century to turn of 20th to the period of decline of the Kolam Theater caused by the growing needs of the colonial economy in rural labor provoking an impoverishment and a lack of interest in the cultural heritage.
    This old type is rare even if it is not yet known and not yet documented to Westerners and “not yet” collected. The reason may be caused by the lack of availability of authentic masks before /- 1900 that have survived and whose rarity would condemn them to oblivion, for lack of “availability on the collectors market” …
    It is a mask of great cultural value of which there are not many copies left in private hands in Sri Lanka today.
    Few older masks around 1800/1850, are known and identifiable to the fully excavated and perforated apical cavity which allows a use such a helmet in which the head goes in till the high of the nape.
    You have a precious mask !!! But this is only my opinion of collector and not of an expert 😉
    have a nice day !!!

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