• India & Himalayas

    Fake Nepal Ganesh mask

    Q: Hi, after much study I just bought a nice Nepal Ganesh Mask. Can you help me figure out if it is “real” or one made for the tourist trade? It is so border line, either an antiqued great mock up or maybe real. I’m really excited to share this! Larry, 1552 A: Sorry, Larry, but this is an example of a reproduction that was made for the tourist trade and export. I thought some of our less experienced visitors could learn something about recognizing these fakes. Almost all tourist masks are antiqued to make them look old and used. Yours is a good example of the popular tinted-varnish technique.…

  • India & Himalayas

    New Kathmandu tourist mask

    Q: I received this Himalayan region mask just ten days ago on an ebay auction for $50. It is about 12 inches high and has numerous small holes for hair, some of which is left. I hope that it interest you. Steve, 1534 A: I’ve seen a few of these lately. They are probably from Nepal or NW China. I like the way they look, but I can’t tell you anything more about them. C

  • India & Himalayas

    Fake shaman’s mask from Nepal

    Q: Is this mask from Nepal or possibly PNW? Jim, 1529 A: Lately I’ve done some blogs on the authenticity of ethnographic masks. It has been an issue with African tribal art for well over 100 years. By now the problem has spread to all parts of the world that welcome tourists looking for souvenirs. Nepal is no exception. What you see here looks like a shaman’s mask from the Middle Hills region of the Himalayans that even has a red wax seal of the Nepalese customs service on the back. Then please go to our records and look at “Masks of the Himalayas” dated March 16, 2018, and “Himalayan…

  • India & Himalayas

    Chhau mask from Purulia, India

    The Chhau dance is a semi classical Indian dance with martial, tribal and folk traditions, with origins in the Purulia district in West Bengal. The dance ranges from celebrating martial arts, acrobatics and athletics performed in festive themes of a folk dance, to a structured dance with religious themes. The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from the Hindu epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Purulia Chhau Dance is listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list of dances. Traditionally, the chhau dance held in the mid march when one agricultural circle end and a new circle begins. Purulia chhau dancer were the earthy and theatrical mask which represent…

  • India & Himalayas

    Small Indian paper mask

    Q: I posted this little Indian mask (20cm) because I think you would like it. It’s strange and deeply made of strong papier machè. I thought it was too little but I saw similar items being used during some festivals. On the rear is written India 1958 and this made me think it was original. If you can help me I’ll be grateful. Thanks, Monica 1519 A: I have seen papier mache masks of this character made in Nepal, but they were 14 inches, not 8 like this one. Nor did they have depth, thickness or cloth covering on the rear. Also, they were about 10 years old, not 60.…

  • India & Himalayas,  Misc

    Sri Lankan Maha Kola mask

    Q: This Sri Lanka “mask” that, as I told you previously, is one of my favorites. At first, thinking it was a tourist item and I didn’t want to post it here. But after some internet research I decided to try as well because I never find another piece so colorful and careful made. I guess it could be vintage or made by an artist. Thank you again for your interest. 30 cm high and half-soft wood. She’s missing a piece on her hands. Monica, 1513 A: Sorry to take so long to post this. We seem to have corrected our computer problems. I’m glad you sent this. Even though…

  • India & Himalayas

    Citipati (Ging) Mask From Tibet

    I believe this is an older Ging mask per the following information I found on the net.  “In the Himalayan Buddhist Cham dances 3 different levels of skull masks & skeleton costumes are used. The lowest level of skeleton dancers are the Ging, boy monks who dance in a basic costume and skull mask. They play a semi-comical character and have no skull diadem and no ear decorations– no adornments of any kind. This can be considered the entry-level of skeleton dancers.”  Dan, 1498 A:  Dan is a very serious collector and I am pleased he is sharing this with us. Study it carefully. This is authentic, old and used…

  • India & Himalayas

    Nice Mahakala mask from Tibet

    Q:  I collect different items that I like. I started with african masks and continue with others. Here I would like to show one of the three masks that I prefer (guess they are from Nepal). They are made of strong papier mache.  Monica, 1497 A:  Mahakala is a tantric Buddhist deity of the Vajrayana tradition. He is one of the most important protector of dharma, and considered to be the wrathful and fierce emanation of Avalokiteshvara and Cakrasaṃvara. Mahakala is also worshiped by Hindus as an ultimate manifestation of Lord Shiva  and consort of Kali (Maha-Kali) representing the destructive power of Brahman. The common element of the Mahakala mask…

  • India & Himalayas

    Help identify a mask. India?

      Q:  Please identify. I need help if you can.  Marion, 1493 A:  I found this mask to be quite interesting. The material of construction is unrecognizable, none the less, it is well made and something that is authentic tribal art. Once I saw a heavy wood mask from southern India that looked much different but had the same pitchfork symbol on its forehead. Is the red character on the left rear a clue? Otherwise, this mask is a total mystery to me. Incidentally, Marion didn’t leave a correct email address so I could not ask her the usual what, where, when and how much. Please enlarge the photos and…

  • East Asia,  India & Himalayas

    Old mask from India or Thailand?

    Q:  This mask has just been restored. It had suffered serious damage in storage. I would be interested to know its origin and its age. The conservator believes it is probably 17/18th century from Thailand, repainted red in the 19th century to bring it “up to date” with the craze for Indian artifacts at that time.   John,  1478 A:  The restoration expert did a good job and could be right about age and location. Please tell me who she/he is. Occasionally I’m asked for a recommendation. The mask is Hindu, but I can’t name the character or god. Also, it may be from India or Nepal… and the age is…