• Guatemala

    Rare Guatemalan mask

    Q: It is true that the style could be confused with some primitive masks from other parts of the world. Nevertheless, it is Guatemalan, but so different from the usual designs. No big moustache or sideburns… It is a Xacalcoje, from of the dance of the Xacalcojes in Aldea Chuisuc, a small village in the province of Totonicapán (Quiché highlands). It is cedar hardwood with a beautiful patina on the back. Probably early or mid XX century. To be noted, the “muted smile” as also found on the second one presented on the page devoted to them on the site of the late Bryan Stevens: https://mexicandancemasks.com/?p=3898. Not all Xacalcojes have…

  • Guatemala,  Mexico

    PreColumbian death mask of Pakal the Great

    Q: The test results are ready now. Well, lets both be happy;) Would you like to evaluate now for me, considering it was real? The certificate is added. Robin, 1750 A: News this good only rarely happens at MasksoftheWorld.com. I am so pleased. Viewers can see Robin’s original Q & A dated March 21 of this year by typing in “death mask.” You could also visit sometime Palenque and Mexico City where you will find the burial pyramid and a recreation of the king’s burial chamber at the Museum of Anthropology. Pakal was buried in a colossal sarcophagus in the largest of Palenque’s stepped pyramid structures, the building called Bʼolon…

  • Guatemala

    Perfect photos of Guatemalan mask

    Q: The “Torito” is a frequent character in Guatemalan traditional dances. This a colorful example from the Quiché-speaking Highlands. This type of bull mask is used during the “Baile Toritos” in Chichicastenango or in several other villages in Quiché province, or the “Baile Vaqueros” in Totonicapán. It is made in cedar hardwood, and dates probably from the mid-XX century. The carving and style differs significantly from toritos made in other Mayan areas, as toritos with scorpions from Rabinal in the Achi-speaking Verapaces (see post of Sept 24, 2018), or the very typical small-size mask with a big bell and ribbons used in the Patzcar dance in the province of Sololá…

  • Guatemala

    Authentic Guatemalan mask in excellent condition

    Q: Also wanted to show you another Guatemalan mask from the same seller– please let me know your thoughts. Culturally used Vaquero (Cowboy) Mask from Chichicastenango, noted carver Miguel Ignacio Calel– morería initials on the back. 1950s-1960s. Materials: wood; oil-based paint. You can see some splitting and cracks and has been repainted. The Baile del Torito (Dance of the Little Bull) is a dance performed at the Fiesta de Santo Tomás (Festival of St. Thomas), the patron saint of Chichicastenango and recounts a story of conflict between vaqueros (cowboys) and their foremen (capitanos). Andrew, 1743 A: Mask collecting doesn’t get and better than this. Andrew has written exactly what you…

  • Guatemala,  Mexico

    Pre-Columbian Indian mask

    Q: Does this mask look like a repro or a legitimate Mexican pre-Columbian piece. It is 3” x 5”. Is is jade adhered to pottery on a wooden base. Paula, 1739 A: It’s a beautiful piece that shows you what an Mezcala, Olmec or Mayan masks could look like before the Spanish invaded the new world. Otherwise, I can’t help much because I never got around to learning about early MesoAmerican masks. The big question is whether it is authentic or a recent reproduction. Please don’t sell it until you know for sure. There are labs that can tell you the age of the mask.

  • Guatemala

    Guatemalan mystery mask

    Q: I saw this fabulous mask on the internet and was told only that it was from Guatemala. I’d never seen anything like it. So I sent the picture to Jean, the famous Guatemalan expert, thinking it might be a rare, authentic Diablo. Here is what he had to say… A: It could be a devil from Alta Verapaz, which has lost its horns (usually 3 horns – middle horn fixed on the top, reason for the large hole). Could be softwood, considering worms holes. As said, the mouth makes me think to Alwasiir (Baja Verapaz) or Murcielago (Alta Verapaz), but these have a rather constant design: they are always…

  • Guatemala

    Expert repairs on a mask

    Q: Further to the discussion about restoration some months ago, here is an example of a restoration I have had recently made on a mask. Just the scar of the break on the front side has been treated, all the other chips related to age and use have been left untouched. The break itself, glued many years ago, is still clearly visible on the backside. I wonder if they switched the eyes when they repaired the break because, strangely, the left eye shows a fissure not in relation with any fissure in the wood, although corresponding exactly to the break if transposed to the right side….but on the other hand…

  • Guatemala

    Patzcar mask from central Guatemala

    Q: I just received this mask and would like to find out the country of origin. It is painted carved wood and comes from a design shop in San Francisco which is closed right now due to the pandemic. I believe it is newish–looks that way. Originally (in the shop) it was priced at $350. It has a level of refinement that doesn’t really show in the photo. I’m thinking it is from either Spain or Mexico but am uncertain. Scotty, 1704 A: Your mask comes from the mountainous area of Baja Verapaz in the center of this small country south of Mexico. Patzcar is an old dance drama that…

  • Guatemala

    Guatemalan tigre mask

    G: My father recently passed away and we are working through the various items at his estate. He was a big collector. He has 12 masks that I would like help appraising so that we can determine our next steps. I haven’t found any paperwork on this mask. Our dad kept records and usually did research on most items in his collection of over 800 items. Jodie, 1687 A: The jaguar is usually called El Tigre in Mesoamerica (Southern Mexico to Northern Panama). These yellow-with-black-dots (sometimes stripes) masks help represent El Tigre as a character in several different dances featuring animals. This is an excellent example of one area’s style.…

  • Guatemala,  Misc

    Authentic new Guatemalan masks

    Q: Attached are two views of mask made by Moises Lopez, Tactic, Guatemala, and one of his unfinished masks. I like unfinished mask and will purchase them if I can convince the mask maker to give one up before it is painted. I also have some masks that were purchased in Ecuador, Peru, Guatemala, and most are from Mexico. Some are gifts, some bought from make, some are tourist, some not. Janet Brody Esser confirmed Michoacan masks, but no estimate of value. What would it cost to appraise them? Jeri, 1686 A: The book “Masks of the World” describes in detail how authenticity affects the value of masks. Most valuable…