Unusual Mexican decorative mask

Q:  I have been trying to ID this mask for some time. It was given to me back in the 70’s. So far, I have been told it could be a pre-revolution Chinese mask, an ancient feng shui and a possibleTibetian. Could I please draw on your expertise to finally confirm the mask’s origin. It is 13 inches long and 17 inches wide across the wing tips, with the face being 7 inches wide.  Pete, 1246

A:  I’ve never seen this particular character before, but I do recognize it as a Mexican decorative– the only form of tourist mask I feel is good enough to interest collectors. These artistic carvings are sometimes made by village craftsmen of authentic masks, or they can come from special work shops. The state that produces the most is Guerrero. They are made for sale to tourist and not for actual dancing. If this unusual category interest you, I suggest the book, Masks of the World by Ibold & Yohn. There you can learn more about these decoratives, and authentic Mexican masks… as well as masks from everywhere else.  B



  • pete

    Maybe a Mexican attempt at a feng Shui mask for a tourist. Two curators at my local museum nearly ended in fisticuffs over this. One saying it was pre-revolution Chinese while the other said it was either early Nuo or Taoist. It is definitely wall art since there are no eye holes, but to see the face properly, the wing tips must be within an inch of the ceiling as though mounted above a door.

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