• Indonesia

    Classic Javanese dance mask

    Q: I have an interesting mask to show you that I believe comes from Indonesia. I got it in a trade with another collector. It has some patina and sign of usage. Steve, 1569 A: Thanks for the improved photos. Your masks is from Java and represents a common character in their traditional dance dramas. Unfortunately, I still can’t be sure if it was used or artificially aged. Maybe one of our viewers will comment on that. Look at the beautiful colors that go so well with the classic yellow. Plus, the carving is skillfully done and almost paper thin. Weather it’s a repro or the real deal, I think…

  • Indonesia,  Misc

    Topeng prime minister from Bali

    Q: I would like to have your opinion about this wayang topeng mask. Do you think it is original (made to be worn)? Teeth are made of mother of pearl and wood is soft. Thank you, Monica 1554 A: There are several versions of Prime Ministers in the Topeng dance dramas that are performed in Bali. Patih Manis and Patih Keras come to mind, but there are others. Judy Slattum in her well-illustrated book, Masks of Bali, says these characters exhibit cleverness, pride, ambition, and sometimes foolishness. Your carving seems to me to be old, used and in good condition. As usual, you’ve made a good acquisition. A-

  • Indonesia,  Oceania

    Dayak hudoq mask

    From the Dayak people of the Kalimantan portion of Borneo, the mask is a classical style hudoq depicting a mythical boar, bird and dragon; the face painted in red, white and black, with attached ears, the lobes with remains of fiber cord that once held pendant ear decorations. It is 25 inches high and has never been used. It came from the Cobbs Auctioneers, a company that often comes up with high-quality masks that are not terribly expensive. Can someone explain why a mask of this quality would be antiqued on the front and not the rear?