East Asia

Royal official from Guizhou

Chinese Nuo mask
Chinese Nuo mask

Q:  Here’s a mask I bought some days ago from a man who told me it came from India, more precisely in Rajasthan, but how can I be sure? It cost me about 12€.
What do you think of it?  Thanks, Maillard, 847

A:  I think this is a Nuo or exorcising mask from Guizhou, a mountainous province in southwest China. It’s known for its ancient rural villages, traditionally inhabited by minority groups like the Miao and Dong. You can see and read about 10 different Nuo masks on page 50 of our new book, Masks of the World. It is hard to tell from the photo whether this one is authentic or an artificially aged piece for the tourist trade. If it is the latter, other locations such as Northern India, Nepal and Tibet are all possible locations for its manufacture. Thus the Rajasthan provenance.

One Comment

  • Bob Ibold

    Hello Bob, thank you very much for these very instructive information. I’m happy to learn such things. I almost forgot to give you this piece of information hidden behind the mask. Here is a seal made of wax which gives, I guess, an idea of the manufacturing location. The writings look like Sanskrit or something close to it. Do you see ?
    Ogier MAILLARD

    That seal means it was made in Nepal, not China or India. Bob

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