South America

World traveling mask


Q:  I have a second mask if you would like to see it. I got them from my uncle some years ago. He got the 2 of them in Russia about 25 years ago, though I’m sure they are much older than that. I assume they are of Germanic origin but really don’t know. Any info you can provide would be great. Thanks.  Josh, 676

A:  Foreign folk art often turns up thousands of miles from where it was made. Certainly nobody would expect to find an Ecuadorian mask in Russia. Who knows? Perhaps Russian tourists have a fondness for the Norther Andes. The Quechua-speaking Indians who live in the mountains have been selling their wooden dance masks to visitors for many years. This one has a nice folk art feel! What does the other one look like? They carve lots of different characters there.  A-


  • Chris

    It’s beautiful, it might depict some European character or person with bright skin colour, or even some clownish figure. I have an old Cotopaxi Tigre mask (1940s) which has more or less the same mouth and nose carving. The blue eye lining seems also rather old fashioned to me, I haven’t seen many recent masks with blue eye colour. Toghether with the patina evidenced in this one foto, I would guess it’s a Cotopaxi area mask from first half to mid 20th century.

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