India & Himalayas

Small Indian paper mask

Q: I posted this little Indian mask (20cm) because I think you would like it. It’s strange and deeply made of strong papier machè. I thought it was too little but I saw similar items being used during some festivals. On the rear is written India 1958 and this made me think it was original. If you can help me I’ll be grateful. Thanks, Monica 1519

A: I have seen papier mache masks of this character made in Nepal, but they were 14 inches, not 8 like this one. Nor did they have depth, thickness or cloth covering on the rear. Also, they were about 10 years old, not 60. I really can’t tell you more about this intriguing little mask other than, yes, I like it. Hopefully someone will help us with a comment.


  • Monica

    Thank you Bob. Hope some of your friends could help us. What made me pretty sure about this Kali was the date on the rear. I imagine there was not a developed tourist market in India during the ‘50th. Thanks Monica

  • Bob Ibold

    Another possibility: Smaller masks of various gods and goddesses are sometimes hung in homes for protection and good luck from the Himalayan countries all the way south to Sri Lanka.

  • monica

    Thanks again Bob!! I just saw an old post (number 1192) and there were two masks very similar to mine. Could tell me their dimensions?? thanks Monica

  • Randy Weiss

    I have a very similar mask – same god. Not Kali as she *always* has her red tongue sticking out. Otherwise color is similar to Kali masks. About 10″ tall. Love to know what god/goddess ??

  • Asta chitrakar

    Thanks Monica,
    This kali mask is made by my father kanchha Chitrakar. I claimed. He is a spiritual artist. Meaning he paints all the deities for rituals then will manifest. The place was thimi. Nepal. I had a great opportunity to work with my father and big family in My childhood. 1958 is about right. He start working around 1953. When Nepal Open up For the tourist For the first time.
    This survived for sixty two years is a great care and love of art. I am keeping continuity for the traditional work in my limited time.
    Asta. Melbourne.

  • Asta chitrakar

    Thanks Monica preserving such a delegate piece of precious vintage art.
    I am pretty sure the art work is my father’s work. His name is Kancha Chitrakar. He was the first mask maker in for tourists and local dances. He was highly celebrated artist of his time. Dated 1959 is about right. Nepal was open in 1953. Tourist flooded in Nepal. Art was suppressed by previous rulers. There was a vacuum of arts for visitors. He spent his entire life life making masks. He lived 90 years of age.
    Melbourne, Australia.

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