• India & Himalayas

    Common Sri Lankan mask

      Q:  Did you get my pictures I sent of my mask?  Candace, 1273 A:  It’s a typical mask from that island culture off the Southern coast of India. Most of the people are Sinhalese who emigrated many years ago from Northern India. Their traditions of masquerade are rich and still in practice today. Unfortunately, Candace has sent us low resolution photos, nothing of the rear, no size or other information. It’s impossible for me to say much about this piece. It could be old and used, or a cheap tourist reproduction that that has been antiqued. I do like the shot that shows the fangs and ears separated from…

  • India & Himalayas

    7 masks from the Kuchipudi theater in India

    Q:  We found these seven masks near the city of Barcelona and the price we paid was about € 2700. We were told they belonged to a collector and were worth much more.   Laia,  1263 A:  I like these masks very much so I decided to share the group photo with our viewers. However I have little access to material on Indian masks. I’m going to guess they represent some of the many Hindu gods that are characters in the Kuchipudi  theater.  They would be from the state of Andhra Pradesh. It sure would be nice to know if I’m correct.

  • India & Himalayas

    Black old man from Mongolia

    Q:  I recently bought a lot of various masks.  About 30 of them, most are probably made for tourists. Bought them from a lady who was moving out of the country (I’m from Argentina), so most of these are quite hard to find here. This one caught my eye. It’s clearly old, and it seems to fit the style of the Indonesian masks. The paint is naturally chipping, a big part of the horse hair it had is missing, and its made out of papier mache with some burlap backing it up. I’m in love with this piece simply because of its piercing, intimidating gaze, and for how old it…

  • India & Himalayas

    Mukaha mask from NE India

    This mask was made by an average person to save money, or make a little extra. Despite its crudeness, I like it a lot. I’m also happy to see, for the first time, a mask from Majuli, Assam. Even though masquerade is quite important in the world’s second largest country, I don’t get to see the masks or costumes very often. Nor do I know of any good book about them. If you know of such a book, please share the title and author’s name with us. Indian masks used by professional dancers can be fabulous. From Neroutes.com, Aug 19, 2016.

  • India & Himalayas

    Sinhalese mask from Sri Lanka

    Rrakasa Mask Sri Lanka Wood, pigment Early 20th Century 7 inches A stunning mask by any measure, this demon portrayal was used to heal through exorcism. Thomas Murray www.tmurrayarts.com I think it is important for collectors to know that the unique masks we think of as Sri Lankan comes from the Sinhalese people who occupy the southern and central parts of the island. A majority of Sinhalese people adhere to Theravada Buddhism rather than Hinduism.The origins of the Sri Lankan Civil War lie in the continuous political rancor between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils who live in the north. The roots of the modern conflict go back to…

  • India & Himalayas

    Another shaman’s mask from the Highlands

    Q:  Carved out of one piece, this mask was bought at a flea fair for £20.  Steve, 1217 A:  About two weeks ago I posted a shaman’s mask from Nepal. It has the same custom’s seal on its back that the previous one had. The Middle Highlands area of Nepal has several ethnic groups including the Rai, Gurung, Magar and Tharu. These people live in remote rural areas and are quite poor. Often their masks are crudely carved and have a dark patina.This mask is an example of that. Unfortunately, I can’t be sure of its authenticity. Save Save

  • India & Himalayas

    Tribal mask from Nepal Middle Hills

    A few days ago I posted a very nice Buddhist demon mask from Nepal. Here is one from a tribal group that resides in the Middle Hills region of rural Nepal and is much different. It would be used for shamanistic purposes and is carved in a primitive way. Paint is rarely used, and because it is stored hanging from the ceiling of a smoke-filled hut, has turned a greasy, dark brown. Even though it is very crude, masks like this have a strong appeal. There are several books on masks from the Middle Hills. Part of the charm of this mask is the way it has aged. Please enlarge…

  • India & Himalayas

    Himalayan demon mask

    Q:  What are you thoughts? Remind us what the red-wax seal means? It cleared Tibetan customs, right? But beyond that, do we know when they started and stopped using this type of seal? Was this seal essentially put onto everything? (i.e. a real antique and a tourist piece would both be given one of these?)  Nate, 1209 A:  Let me start with the red wax seal. The Nepalese customs department began taxing folk art items being sold to tourists and exporters in the middle 20th century. Masks got a seal on the rear. Then, around the beginning of the 21st, they stopped wasting time and money on this practice. I…

  • India & Himalayas

    From an island off the tip of India

      Q:  Went to a church Thrift Shop last week and they were having a half off sale on the “artwork”. Bought three Indonesian Masks for $20.00! The two smaller ones have real animal tusks (seven each mask)held to the masks with old finishing type nails, the ears attached the same way. Guessing they are definitely tourist-type masks. The largest mask is 10″ wide by 14 1/2″ high and is a one piece carving. Five cobras make up the top of the headdress and the ears are human heads. On the back appear to be missing attachments for the wearer for a head strap, also one hole through the top.…

  • India & Himalayas

    Hairy leather mask

    Q:  Here is a mask that I think is from Nepal. Can you tell me more about it?  Hans, 1203 A:  Masks made of hairy animal skin do show up occasionally in Nepal, Tibet, and even parts of Europe. I want to put this one on the blog because it projects so much character and, dare I say it, Satanic Power! Hopefully one of our viewers will add a comment.