Typical African masks bought by beginners

Q:  I fell in love with masks (especially from Africa) after travelling through South Africa. Then I started to buy and collect some. This is my very first mask, which I bought at an auction. I have no idea which country or region it belongs to, or if it could be something authentic or not. Maybe you have an answer for me.  Best regards, Katja  1820

A:  There are many wood carvers in Africa because it is so hard to find descent paying jobs. Every year those people make hundreds of thousands of tribal masks and other carvings for tourists and collectors. Sometimes the masks are as good as the ones they use in village dances, but most of the time they’re not.

This one is not so bad. It looks much like the Chokwe in the DRC or the Lewenda from Angola made it. But it’s not exactly correct and has been artificially aged. I think it would be nice for a beginning collector. Don’t let a seller make you pay a lot for this “old, used” mask.  B-


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