Pre-Columbian Mexican mask?

Q:  I have another mystery for you.  This mask was among a group of genuine 1970s dance masks from Mexico. My initial reaction was “tourist mask,” but the more I examined it, the more convinced I became that it’s authentic. The trouble is, I’ve never seen anything like it.  I can’t place the region of Mexico or the type of dance.  Do you have any ideas?  Aaron, 1484

A:  When Aaron <> sends me an unusual mask it is always a challenge! But before I talk about his mask, take a look at the next mask that is supposed to be from Teotihuacan.

“Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region. The later Aztecs saw these magnificent ruins and claimed a common ancestry with the Teotihuacanos, modifying and adopting aspects of their culture.”

So Aaron’s beautiful mosaic mask (in perfect condition) could be very old and from a number of different places in Mexico or Guatemala. He should take it to someone who specializes in pre-Columbia art, and/or have a lab estimate its age.

On the other hand, it also looks like an artistic piece of contemporary ceramics. The tiles are placed in a haphazard, abstract-exprestionist way. I would be proud to add it to my collection of Mexican masks which contains both authentic and decorative items!

I hope we get a helpful comment.


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