• Misc

    Scar’s mask from The Lion King

    This hugely successful broadway show tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands; however, after Simba’s uncle Scar (Mufasa’s jealous younger brother), murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile. Don’t worry, it has a happy ending. The costumes were designed by Julie Taymor and Michael Curry. Theater masks don’t get any better than this. I believe you can purchase nice reproductions on eBay.  Bob, 1288  A+

  • Misc

    Ancient Greek theater mask

    Greek theater began in the 6th century BCE in Athens with the performance of tragedy plays at religious festivals. These, in turn, inspired the genre of Greek comedy plays. The two types of Greek drama would be hugely popular and performances spread around the Mediterranean and influenced Hellenistic and Roman theater. Thus the works of such great playwrights as Sophocles and Aristophanes formed the foundation upon which all modern theater is based. The early tragedies had only one actor who would perform in costume and wear a mask, allowing him to impersonate gods. Later, the actor would often speak to the leader of the chorus, a group of up to…

  • Misc,  Unknown

    Building a good collection is hard

    I try to post as many masks as possible. However, for every interesting mask I see, there are several that I can’t publish. Here is a typical answer from the Mask Man for one that won’t get posted. Jeff— I found this mask at a garage sale. The women we bought it from said her husband picked it up from Africa many years ago. It is 11 inches long and 6 inches wide and made from wood. Any information you can give us about this mask would be great. Bob— This is an attractive carving that looks like a mask from Africa. It was made to be sold as a…

  • Europe,  Misc

    Ntanos Blast Mask

    Lots of us like to wear masks to parties and special occasions. Here’s a line of masks that only cost $6.58 each. You have to buy the material and do the construction yourself. Ntanos furnishes the digital file, PDF and paper pattern. The picture shows my favorite. Go to www.etsy.com for more info about this British creation. Your friends will be impressed with your handiwork.  Bob

  • Misc

    The art of Paolo del Toro

    On our website we call this art and categorize it under “miscellaneous.” Like almost all of our ethnographic masks it is a combination of sculpture and painting. Pictured here are three large felt masks that can be worn or hung on the wall. Paolo is a young British artist who now lives in Lancaster, PA. I’m told he will soon begin making smaller sized masks. Art masks are rarely this creative. You can contact Paolo by going to apololedroot@gmail.com or you can visit his website.    

  • Misc

    Old, wood Green Man mask

    Q:  I purchased this mask in an antique store in the UK for £85, it was labelled as an ‘ancient green man mask’– but I’m not sure if this is right. It is 34cm tall, 24cm at its widest and about 13cm deep. It seems like it is pretty old. I’m not sure if the red inserts in the eyes are original. It looks like the holes may have been filled in at some point.  Any help identifying this mask would be great!   Chris, 1256 A:  Every thing you say is true. It could even be truly old with an interesting back story. And it sure would make a nice…

  • Misc

    Egyptian burial mask

      The Artemis Gallery auctions are having a sale which will follow a chronological timeline that begins with Ancient Egypt and progresses through Greek, Roman and other Old World cultures. Here is a Romano-Egyptian plaster mummy mask of a young man, circa 30 BCE to 2nd century CE. Its hauntingly lifelike facial features, curly beard and straight hair are skillfully painted, with a palette of harmonious tones adding a natural look to the skin. Pretty nice looking for something that’s over 2000 years old. http://www.artemisgallery.com/

  • Misc

    The Darth Vader mask for Halloween

    We’re getting close to Halloween. It’s an important holiday in the USA– relying heavily on masquerade, and second only to Christmas in its popularity. My favorite Halloween mask is the Darth Vader helmet. You could call it a futuristic version of Samurai armor. Rather than talk about Star Wars or construction details, I will point out that this is also a great work of art. To use a term most of our viewers are familiar with, it could become an important ethnographic artifact.  Bob, 1222 Save Save Save

  • Misc

    The famous Guy Fawkes mask

    The Guy Fawkes mask is a stylised depiction of Guy Fawkes, the best-known member of the Gunpowder Plot. The plot was an attempt to blow up the House of Lords in London on 5 November 1605, in order to restore a Catholic head of state. The use of a mask on an effigy has long roots as part of Guy Fawkes Night celebrations. A stylised portrayal of a face with an oversized smile and red cheeks, a wide moustache upturned at both ends, and a thin vertical pointed beard, designed by illustrator David Lloyd, came to represent broader protest after it was used as a major plot element in V…

  • Misc

    Deformity masks in other cultures

    Q:  As you know, collectors occasionally run into deformity and disease masks. I’d like to hear more about them.  I’d especially be indebted if you started a blog thread on the topic.  Nate, 1190 A:  This first one is from the Ibibio people of Nigeria. It measures 7 3/4″ high. The small face with high raised forehead above tiny eyes, carved with no nose or upper lip and with teeth showing in the open face depicts either syphilitic yaws or a severe cleft palate. It comes from the Cobbs Auctioneers. The second one is a Mbangu from the Pende of the DRC. 12″ high. It represents a hunter who has…