• Mexico

    Fancy Mexican mask

    This mask is gorgeous. It was made for someone important (and well-to-do) to wear at a big ceremony. In my notes I wrote it was made by the famous mask maker, Victoriano Salgado, who is from Uruapan, Michoacan. One of my collector friends sent the photo to me several years ago. The wooden part of the mask would be adult human in size.

  • Mexico

    Holy Week mask from NW Mexico

    Q:  I recently won an auction with about 20 masks, most of which were tourist junk, but a few of which are interesting.  Most seem to be from Mexico or Nepal.  In this group are several genuine mysteries that have stumped me, and I was hoping for your help with them.  Here is the first one.  It’s quite old, probably dating to the 1970s, judging by the extremely dry leather of the pelt.  It looks to me like coyote pelt, which suggests it could be a fariseo mask from the Yaqui or Mayo people, but I’ve never seen one looking quite like this.  What’s your take on it?  Aaron, 1247…

  • Mexico

    Unusual Mexican decorative mask

    Q:  I have been trying to ID this mask for some time. It was given to me back in the 70’s. So far, I have been told it could be a pre-revolution Chinese mask, an ancient feng shui and a possibleTibetian. Could I please draw on your expertise to finally confirm the mask’s origin. It is 13 inches long and 17 inches wide across the wing tips, with the face being 7 inches wide.  Pete, 1246 A:  I’ve never seen this particular character before, but I do recognize it as a Mexican decorative– the only form of tourist mask I feel is good enough to interest collectors. These artistic carvings…

  • Mexico

    Armadillo mask from Oaxaca, Mexico

    Q:  Here are the masks. They were purchased at a garage sale in British Columbia, Canada, but they don’t look like local native art at all. The wood and materials used are unfamiliar to me, particularly the shell used on the top & bottom of one. The fur, hair & whiskers seem to be real but I’m not sure of their origin. There were about 8 in a box at a “collectibles” garage sale & when I asked about the origin they only knew that they came from a man who had collected them. I have tried to ID the currency but can’t. Since they have price tags they may…

  • Mexico

    Chivo mask from Hidalgo, Mexico

    Q:  This one has me a bit confused. Would love your commentary. Twisted nose makes me think Mexican and off the top of my head I can only think of tourist pieces that depict this twisted nose. However, the real goat horns, heavy wood, patina all scream Guatemalan to me and ethnic use. The horn tips have holes evidencing that this once had bells or the likes attached to it… that too makes me think more in the direction of Mexican than Guatemalan, although fitting for both. 51% leaning in the direction of Mexican…given the lines on the front, color choices and the nose again.  Nate, 1240 A:  This is…

  • Mexico

    Day of the Dead masks from Mexico

    Day of the Dead celebrations will soon kick off in Mexico, with millions of revelers taking to the streets to honor their lost loved ones. People often construct their own private altars, where they honor the dead with a number of different gifts. Sugar skulls and marigolds are among the offerings given up, as well as the favorite food and drinks of the departed. Skull masks are both worn and displayed. As the years have gone by, the designs have become even more intricate and extravagant. Not long ago, the first ever Day of the Dead parade took place in Mexico’s capital and it’s believed that this addition to the…

  • Mexico

    One-eyed, black-skinned Moor from Mexico

    Q:  I posted the last 2 masks from Veracruz, both Moors but in very different styles. Scans are attached f you’re interested in seeing them.  Aaron, 1218 A:  As always, thank you for sharing your recent mask acquisitions with us. It seems you are able to tract down wonderful finds in any part of the world. Couldn’t we do the same? Try this… Just Google the indigenous people who populate the area where you are going. Also, don’t be afraid to visit some museums or read books ahead of time. The more you know, the better your results will be. Obviously, Aaron does a lot of research. Here is what…

  • Mexico

    Mexican or Guatemalan clay mask?

    Q:  I bought this mask 30 years ago while traveling in Mexico.  It might be from around Oaxaca.  I find the figure in the forehead to be very intriguing.  Can you tell me anything about it.  It’s either clay or a very hard plaster.  Beverly, 1216 A:  I have seen these painted ceramics before and assumed yours was from Guatemala because of the features. The first Guatemalan mask in my book, Masks of the World, on page 140, is similar to yours. But I’ve also seen Mexican masks made of terracotta. Several very experienced collectors I know consider them decoratives made strictly for the tourist trade. Clay is a terrible…

  • Mexico

    Clown mask from Veracruz

    Q:  I posted 3 more of the masks I acquired in Veracruz over the summer.  I thought you might enjoy seeing them.  I’ll be posting more, and more from Jalisco (and a few from Estado de Mexico) as well in the next couple of weeks.  Aaron, 1215 A:  Here is Aaron’s thorough description. TITLE: Payaso Mask GENERAL REGION: Latin America COUNTRY: Mexico SUBREGION: Veracruz ETHNICITY: Nahua DESCRIPTION: Payaso (Clown) Mask MAKER: Unknown CEREMONY: Santo Entierro de Cristo; Fiesta de la Asunción; Carnival AGE: 2013 MAIN MATERIAL: wood OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint Santo Entierro de Cristo (“Sacred Burial of Christ”) is an important festival in parts of Veracruz, particularly in the region of Teocelo, and is celebrated on…

  • Mexico

    Mexican homemade mask

    Q:  I bought this mask many years ago at a folk art store in Denver, CO, which was going out of business. They had very little info on it, except to say they thought it was called “Huasteca” and was from Mexico. I have tried to research it…to no avail. Made of very light wood and has blushing cheeks. Could you give me more details about this mask? I’d appreciate it.  Mickey, 1207 A:  Homemade masks can come from almost anywhere in Mexico, not just the Huasteca region of Hidalgo. Many Mexicans are so poor they can’t afford to buy from a local mask maker. Some of these amateurs are…