Bali & Java

One of many Balinese characters

Topeng Tua
Topeng Tua

Q: I have a carved wooden noh mask and I can’t seem to find one quite like it. Some help concerning the age, authenticity and possibly value would be greatly appreciated.The mask seems like it has a little age but doesn’t seem used. The strips of animal skin with hair for the eyebrows and mustache seem older and dry, and the tacks holding them in are a bit rusty. The mask is about 5-3/4 inches wide and 7-1/2 tall.  Tyler, 618

A: Japan is a country where they take masquerade very seriously and so is Bali (part of Indonesia). Both countries make very fine masks. Instead of the Noh theater, the masks of Bali are used in their traditional dance dramas. The dance character portrayed here in an old man called Topeng Tua. Though this is not a good example, a lot of the Balinese mask available today are beautifully carved and painted… better than in most other parts of the world. Possible exceptions– Japan, Italy, Austria, Germany, and the Pacific Northwest of America. B-

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