• Mexico

    Tigre mask from Olinala, Mexico

    Q: I purchased this in Mexico in the 70’s when I lived there. I don’t remember where or how much I paid. The black areas on the mask are actually small carved animals. It is beautiful and in very good condition. There is a small crack on the top of the mask. Linda, 1605 A: Look in the archives for mask #1574 that was posted May 31, 2019. Today’s Tigre comes from the same village in Guerrero, but it’s a lot different. Mexican mask carvers often have their own personal styles of carving and painting. I’ll give it a B+ because I’m not sure of its authenticity.

  • Mexico

    Another Mexican decorative mask

    Q: Trying to find out the value of some masks that were given to me years ago. Gary, 1591 A: One of my goals for this website is to convince mask collectors around the world that Mexican decoratives deserve respect. They are often made by the same carvers who supply the village dancers with their “authentic” masks. The “decoratives” are made for selling to tourists and galleries. More than money-makers, these exciting masks are a creative outlet for the village artisans. Unlike the authentic dance masks that must always resemble a character’s traditional appearance, the decorative can look like anything imaginable. The ones I collect are always a surprise to…

  • Mexico

    Old decorative mask from Guerrero

    Q: Recently I acquired this mask from a friend. He himself had bought it, along with four others, in the early 90s from an old Guatemalan lady who had been living in Europe for a long time. After a little research I think this mask is from Guerrero, Mexico. Material: a light wood with colorful paint. Size: 10.2” x 7.1” (26 x 18 cm). It shows a half-naked girl standing on the mask’s face. In the lower part both figures “melt” together: her skirt becomes also a nose and moustache of the mask, her ankles and feet the mask’s funny teeth. The girl upholds in her hands a blue hammer…

  • Mexico

    Tigre mask from Olinala, Guerrero

    Q: Here I am again. The last time I had a mystery mask, you were stumped. I now have a more obvious one. It’s a Mexican tiger mask witch I paid 37.50 Euros for it. Is it made for the tourists? Height is 25cm. Thank you in advance. Roosje, 1574 A: In Mexico, Tigre means Jaguar. These large cats once occupied the entire country, but are now almost extinct. The Aztecs wore masks like this, and the masks are used in various places for dances and celebrations. In Olinala, Guerrero, they still wear the Tigre masks while dancing down the street carrying bundles of farm produce. This is part of…

  • Mexico

    Be careful about Mexican decoratives

    Q: Here is the picture of the Mexican mask I would like to get a quote for an appraisal. My deceased friend brought it to the US back in the late 70’s even though it was forbidden. She lived in Mexico City and she told me it was made in mountains for a ceremony. It is about 3 feet tall and about 1 foot wide. Very light weight and it has glass eyes. This is the only thing I know about it. Carla, 1557 A: Somewhere in the state of Guerrero they have been making these large, bearded masks to sell to rich tourists for many years. They are well…

  • Mexico

    Mexican dance mask from Oaxaca

    On my recent trip to Mexico City I only saw authentic dance masks in museums and an old shop called Victor’s Artes Populares Mexicanas, not in markets or the streets. Though Victor’s few masks were excellent, I only bought some little carvings for grandchildren and friends. The unusual mask shown here I found on the internet, not Mexico City. Oaxaca offers collectors a wide variety of masks because there are so many ethnic groups living in this southern state.

  • Mexico

    Death mask of Pakal the Great

    Q: Have you seen this? Thought you might enjoy it. Death Mask of Pakal the Great The striking jade death mask of an ancient Mayan king is displayed in a replica tomb in Mexico City. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/death-mask-of-pakal-the-great?utm_source=share_by_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mailto_share Derek, 1538 A: When I was studying at Mexico City University in 1956 I took some time off and went to the recently discovered ruins of Palenque in the jungles of Yucatan. It was difficult to reach, and because it was a Mexican holiday, there were no workmen there. My traveling companion and I climbed to the top of the pyramid, cranked up the generator, plugged in a string of lights and did some…

  • Mexico

    The infamous Barbones mask from Mexico

    Q: Can anyone give me any meaning of this mask? How could it have been used? Jan, 1535 A: They started making these stunning masks out of silver in the mining town of La Parota, Guerrero, way back in the Victorian period. Well over 100 years ago wealthy gringos were vacationing in Mexico and they loved these hammered-metal masks as decorative souvenirs. Later they switched from silver to the cheaper copper you see here, and they are still popular to this day. The first edition of Donald Cordry’s Mexican Masks came out in 1980 and became a big seller that created a great interest in this subject. Cordry loved masks…

  • Mexico

    Reproduction of pre-Columbian Mexican mask

    Q:  I know very little about this mask. I took it, along with quite a few similar items, from a house my friends bought from an elderly lady being moved into a nursing home. She had no family, so we had the task of cleaning out the house. This mask is 8″ high and 7″ wide. Most of the other decorative items I collected seem to be from the American Southwest. One statue that looks to be from South America has a very old price tag that says $90, and it seems the most similar to this mask, so I thought maybe the mask would have some value. Even if…

  • Mexico

    Pre-Columbian Mexican mask?

    Q:  I have another mystery for you.  This mask was among a group of genuine 1970s dance masks from Mexico. My initial reaction was “tourist mask,” but the more I examined it, the more convinced I became that it’s authentic. The trouble is, I’ve never seen anything like it.  I can’t place the region of Mexico or the type of dance.  Do you have any ideas?  Aaron, 1484 A:  When Aaron < https://www.maskmuseum.org/> sends me an unusual mask it is always a challenge! But before I talk about his mask, take a look at the next mask that is supposed to be from Teotihuacan. “Although it is a subject of…