Presentational Javanese mask

Q:  This well-carved mask has a strong aura to it. My friend said that he had to take it out of his office because of it’s effect on people. What kind of ritual was it used for? Thanks in advance.   Cha, 1415

A:  It is well carved, but then not painted, which is not traditional for a Topeng character mask from Java, Indonesia. The most unusual thing about this item is the carved seal on the back. I wish someone would comment on its origin. I assume the lettering is in Malay. My guess is it was made to be a nice gift for an important person. It could not be used in a classic dance drama.  It would be an especially fine piece of decorative art if you would repair the eyes.  C+

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