• Mexico,  South America

    Pre-Columbian masks & statues

    Q: My fiance just found in his 24 yr old Arizona storage unit what he termed a pre-Columbian figurine that shows the back was broken off some other clay object. He said “it’s the real deal”. It is 3-inches tall. Wondered if I send you pix if you could shed some more light on the authenticity and possible age? Pam, 1642 A: Small fired-clay masks and other sculptural fragments have been turning up at various parts of Meso-America for 100s of years. Often attractive, they can also be of archaeological interest. Eventually some of the skillful locals found they could easily replicate these artifacts and sell them to the rich…

  • Mexico

    Yaqui pascola mask, Sonora, Mexico

    This mask came from a collector who had several in an estate sale in which some (this being one) were left. There are several more various ones as well. 8 inches long (without beard) by 6 inches wide. Not sure about material, possibly wood? It’s very light. Thanks in advance! Just like to learn more about them as I am trying to sell for owner. Deb, 1625 A: The following can be found on page 115 of Mask of the World by Ibold & Yohn… Pascolas are for Easter celebrations. The Yaqui Indians celebrate all of Holy Week, however, most Roman Catholics would not recognize their rituals because they are…

  • Mexico

    Mexican diablo mask

    Q: I hardly know anything about masks, but I acquired this one recently. I feel it has a great energy. It is carved Wood with Animal Antlers (I think it use to have teeth, but they are no longer there). I believe it might be a Mexican diablo mask, but really don’t know. Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated! Approximate Measurements: OAH – 16″ (With antlers), 9″ Width, OAD – 7″ Jen, 1621 A: This is a primitive version of the devil. I agree with you about the “energy” and would be pleased to add it to my wall of Mexican masks. It could have been…

  • Mexico

    Huave deer mask from Oaxaca, Mexico

    Q: From the lot of masks I recently bought the following one seems to me Guatemalan, but I am not sure. Material: a heavy wood and 2 pieces of fur attached to forehead and chin. In my opinion (coming from a hunter’s family) it is deer skin. The mask’s size is quite large: 14.6” x 8.3” (37 x 21 cm). The traces of paint over a white grounding are soot black, also some white and maybe traces of red (on the nose, cheeks, lips and eyebrows). The wood is very worm eaten and a part of the side rim has unfortunately broken apart, while the skin is rather hardened and…

  • Mexico

    Mexican masks are very collectible

    Here we have a wonderful mask that can be purchased for a fair price. It was made and used by the Tocotin people for the dance of the Moors and Christians in the Papantla region of Veracruz, Mexico. It is of carved wood and from the mid-20th century. The measurements are 8 1/2” h. x 7” w. x 5” d. My purpose is to help people better understand ethnographic masks and to encourage collecting this amazing folk art from around the world. I am not in the business of promoting sales any more, so you’ll have to find this vendor with the aid of Google. 1610 A

  • 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…