India & Himalayas

Sri Lankan mystery demon

Q:  Right now the mask is hung up on a wall and very heavy. I have attached some photos. The back story is that it belonged to my wife’s grandmother who dabbled in antiques and traveled a lot. We have this mask and a Maui kava kava sculpture. The family remembers these items as kids, so it is at least 30-40 years old. I could not find any marks inside, or find any other mask via the Web that looks close to this. I think it’s origin may be Tibetan. Since she passed I started collecting other masks, but nothing of this caliber.  Jeremiah, 1110

A:  This Sinhalese (the largest ethnic group on the island of Sri Lanka) demon mask, is made of carved wood with bulging eyes, a weird protruding upper lip, and a gaping mouth with little snakes or eels coming out of it may be an unusual character I have never heard of.  Or it could be an imaginative piece made only for sale to the tourist trade. It is rather quickly carved and painted. Also, that stained varnish is an attempt to make the mask look old. If someone can name this strange demon it would be interesting, and add a little value to the piece.  C


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