Recent Mexican decorative

Q:  I recently purchased a few masks from a local auction in the south of England. I’m not a collector of masks but a collector of the unusual and beautiful. There were three in the lot. I understand you only respond to one question at a time. I believe two to be Balinese but the third I have no idea. The three masks cost me £90 with all fees included. I will contact you again about the other two later. Thank you for your time.  Alex, 1179

A:  This is proof that the long tradition of Mexican decoratives is alive and well. If you’re unfamiliar with Mexican masks, “decorative” is a polite way of saying “fake” or “tourist mask.” They’re made every year by the thousands to get more money out of the Gringos (North Americans), and many are junky or boring. But others can be creative, beautiful, and almost as desirable as the best authentic masks. Of course, serious collectors, dealers, curators and anthropologists do not agree with me on this.  I will tell you– this skull, with its two fish, is a nice piece of Mexican folk art.  C+



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