I try to post as many masks as possible. However, for every interesting mask I see, there are several that I can’t publish. Here is a typical answer from the Mask Man for one that won’t get posted.
Jeff— I found this mask at a garage sale. The women we bought it from said her husband picked it up from Africa many years ago. It is 11 inches long and 6 inches wide and made from wood. Any information you can give us about this mask would be great.
Bob— This is an attractive carving that looks like a mask from Africa. It was made to be sold as a souvenir or as wall art. Tourist masks like this can be fine for decoration. But real masks– the ones that are actually worn in native cultures– are sometimes better looking and always more interesting. I suggest that you start exploring the field by visiting Masks of the World and other tribal art dealers. Feel free to ask questions anytime. We want you to be part of our favorite hobby and enjoy it to the fullest.
Jeff— Thank you so much. Is there any way to tell how old it is? And can you tell me which part of Africa it came from? Also, does the symbol in the front of the mask have any significance? Thank you again for the information
Bob— Your wood carving looks like a real mask, but it would never be worn by any tribe. Age is not an issue. Try to be thankful you have an attractive wall-hanging that looks West African.
Yard sales and thrift shops are a waste of time for most people. Jeff could do better if he read books about masks, visited museums and spent time on Google. Bob, 1275
Yes, Bob is right. And I would add that you limit your collection to a certain geographical/cultural area. Thereby, you can build expertise in time, meet others who know deeply about that area and if something interesting pops up somewhere on the market, you know instantly if it is worth purchaising or not. And in the end, with some expertise, you can talk also in due depth about your pieces if somebody visits you and wants to know more.
Let’s hope that some beginning collectors read what you just said.