Bali & Java

The famous Rangda mask

Q:  I’ve got a beautiful mask which I believe is the evil one. It came into my hands about 8 years ago from my uncle who traveled the world and collected masks. He told me to look after it as it could be worth something in a few years. I took the mask to a very good friend of mine who is actually from Bali Indonesia and she said the same. I believe it’s some sort of carved wood with horse hair. It’s such a shame to have it stored away so I was looking at selling it. The mask has a slight damage which is a bit of one of his fangs is missing. I would really appreciate if you can help in anyway as I just don’t want to let it go to anyone.  Marcia, 1391

A:  The mask is of Rangda, who is an evil one in the traditional dance dramas of Bali. I doubt it it will appreciate much because they are still being made and used in Bali. The first Rangda shown is a sharp photo of a new one that is of medium quality, which usually means it was made for the tourist trade, but not always. The second photo is yours. It is also of medium quality, however I can’t tell whether its patina is old or faked. That would make a difference to its value.

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