• India & Himalayas

    Old mask from Himachal, India

    Q: This mask was acquired in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is made of very light-weight wood, and has two cracks that have been repaired. It looks to be from somewhere in the Indian Himalayas, likely Himachal or Uttarakhand, but I’m not sure exactly where, or for what purpose the mask was made. It might be related to Faguli. David, 1696 A: Here is what Wikipedia says: The traditional dances of Himachal Pradesh are varied and complicated. These dances are a vital part of tribal life. It reflects the culture and the tradition of Himachal. Hardly any festivity there is celebrated without dancing. Dance forms such as Nati are performed all…

  • India & Himalayas

    Primitive Himalayan mask

    Q: I recently acquired 4 masks from a tiny antique shop in Mcleod Ganj, India. The woman selling them didn’t have much of an idea about them. She claimed they were collected by her grandfather, in Tibet. My wife speaks is Tibetan and spoke with her about them. She said she had around 300 to begin with, but now all were gone save a few. I would like to send you all four of those I purchase. The first here I paid USD$40. David, 1674 A: This is a carved wood mask to be used for Buddhist ritual dance in Nepal or Southern Tibet. It may have been worn a…

  • India & Himalayas

    Garuda mask from India or the Himalayas

    Q: Sending pictures. It’s probably not valuable, but it is very unique. I look forward to hearing back from you. Vicky, 1666 A: Garuda is the bird god, an important character in both Buddhist and Hindu mythologies. It is based on huge eagle who rules the sun and skies. He can capture anything he wants with his powerful claws. Wearing these masks costumed dancers perform religious ceremonies in several Asian countries. Your papier mache mask is good looking and traditional in style. I’m guessing the height is about one foot. It could have been used, but was likely made for tourists and collectors. Could you share with us in the…

  • India & Himalayas

    Citipati mask from Arunachal Pradesh, India

    Here is one of my favorite Citipati masks. As you know the are made as pairs, the male and the female which are often difficult to differentiate. It is essential that the soul be able to laugh the frightening prospect of the hereafter and so, in their wisdom, monks turn dancing skeletons into clowns for comic relief at great masked performances. I was lucky enough to manage to buy it at auction about 18 months ago. I paid less than half what I believe the mask to be worth. As you know, Himalayan masks have become very expensive, and Citipati masks are among the most favored by collectors. The mask…

  • India & Himalayas,  Unknown

    Bronze helmet mask from where?

    Q: Thank you for your e-mail and thank you for your interest in the mask or is it more of a helmet? It is about 10.5 inches in height. The ornament on top is 3 inches. The circumference at the nose is roughly 24 inches. This was a gift from a very generous collector. I have no further information. I will attempt to contact him today for more details. Shelly, 1633 A: I searched for Cambodian, Burmese, Indian, Nepalese, Tibetan and other masks with no luck. Thus goes the work of The Mask Man– a guy who claims he knows about masks from all over the world. There certainly are…

  • India & Himalayas

    Primitive Nepalese mask

    Q: I have a nice old mask that I’m not sure of origin. I have an idea that it comes from Timor, but something also pointing in the direction of Himalaya. What do Mask of the world think? I hope you can and will help. Thanks in advance! Data: High 24cm. wide 15cm. depth 10 cm. Hardwood and hair. Looks like human hair, but not sure. Provenance: I bought a collection of old Greenlandic artifacts, which included this. Jan, 1623 A: The appearance of Timorese masks is sometimes confused with old Himalayan examples. With the hair and black, shiny color of the mask, I’ll go with rural Nepal or someplace…

  • East Asia,  India & Himalayas

    Traditional Buddhist mask from Mongolia

    Q: Slightly Mysterious… I recently purchased this mask at an online auction for approx $30. Not sure of origin since it was simply described as an “Asian Mask”. I don’t believe it was ever worn, but it’s very well made and certainly could have been . It measures 11″ X 9″ and carved from a lightweight wood. I’m guessing it’s from Bhutan or Nepal, based on the way the ears are carved and the exaggerated expression, but I could be wrong. Dan, 1622 A: I think of traditional Buddhist masks as being Himalayan, but they are also found as far north as Mongolia for use in the famous Tsam ceremony…

  • India & Himalayas

    Just two more Indian masks

    Yes, I am upset by the dearth of information on Indian masks. I promise to stop posting them unless they are sent in by a viewer. You probably won’t see many from India in the future. The first mask here was marked as coming from Arunachal Pradesh, without any additional info. There was nothing about the second one. If some of my viewers would take the time to research this subject, it would be nice to get a comment. 1612

  • India & Himalayas

    Mystery mask. From India?

    Q: I came across an unusual mask described as 19th Century Tibetan Polychrome Wooden and Cloth Wrapped Mask. Not sure of its origin and background. My first criteria is masks from places I visited in order to “feel” the circumstances to which they are attached, and then the closest possible to its use (that means used masks or made by local artisans). I have 62 masks from 14 countries of the 48 that I have visited, even though some of them do not have mask traditions. Any info that you can provide? Joao, 1611 A: I suspect this mask is from somewhere in the huge country of India or perhaps…

  • India & Himalayas

    Old and used mask from India

    On the 14th of this month I posted blog #1603 which was a mystery mask from India. Aaron Fellmeth, a famous authority on masks, was kind enough to comment. He named several parts of India where masks are commonly used, but didn’t recognize this particular mask and thought it probably was decorative art for tourists. None the less, what he said will help direct collectors to areas rich in authentic masks. However, with 1.3 billion people, India has 22 separate ethnic groups speaking languages other than Hindi, and all of these people are displaying varied cultures, religions, and related artifacts. I think all of these separate groups probably practice masquerade.…