• Africa,  Misc

    Ancient Egyptian wood mask

    Probably older than 1000 BC, this beautifully carved face mask comes from the inner coffin of a large ancient Egyptian sarcophagus. It would have been painted over with a layer of gesso and linen. All of this is long gone because of poor conditions in the tomb where it was buried. Very nicely mounted and photographed. Sometimes great aging can be very appealing. What I don’t like to see is masks that have been artificially aged to fool the collecting market.  1365

  • Misc

    Real masks vs. decorative carvings

    Q: I received this mask from a friend who found it, essentially in the garbage, while doing demolition work after a large flood. It is approximately 30″ x 12″ at the widest part. I have a general interest in artifacts from different parts of the world, particularly West Africa and Latin America (Amazonia in particular). Mike, 1358 A:  Quite a few decorative carvings come to me for identification each month. Yours is one of the more attractive ones, so I decided to make an exception and post a non-mask. People with little knowledge of tribal art enjoy them, but our viewers are collectors who avoid tourist souvenirs in favor of…

  • Misc

    Prehistoric clay masks

    The first is a Domen period mask from Nagano, Japan. The smaller photo shows a prehistoric clay mask dug up in Turkey. There is also a stone mask from the Middle East shown on page 203 of our book, Masks of the World, that is thought to be over 9000 years old. The tradition of masquerade goes far back in the history of mankind.

  • Misc

    3 steampunk masks

    I my book, Masks of the World, there is a chapter called Steampunk & Sex. (We’ll look at sex masks some other time.) When Steampunkers don there strange masks and accoutrements they enter their own retro-futuristic steam powered world. The masks are wonderful to look at, as you can see. A lot of work goes into them so they are not cheap. Have you ever seen one?

  • Misc,  Unknown

    Ancient clay mask

    Q:  The lady that I got this mask from for ten dollars last year said that she believed it originally came from China.  It measures six inches in diameter.  It is made of clay, and a friend who did ceramics told me that it was fired at a lower temperature than that of a modern kiln.  Thank you for looking.   Fred, 1308 A:  Perhaps it is an Asian piece, but I think it is more likely from Mexico or further South. That is not based on any expertise. It is just the fact that I see more “ancient” ceramics from the new world than the old. Sadly, most of…

  • Misc

    Handheld home-made mask

    A few years ago the Mask Man had a party for a few friends. One of the guest came in holding this in front of his face. It sure looked like me. Everybody laughed so I put it on the wall of my office. You can do this easily. Hopefully the face you choose will be better looking. Just take a photo, make a print, glue it to corrugated board and cut it out with an Exacto knife.Try to make the handle a little stronger than the rest.

  • Misc

    Prison art of beverage pull tabs

    There were some great masks on eBay in the late 1990’s. That’s when I bought this. It was made by someone with plenty of time– perhaps a prisoner. A few years later I sold it to a now-deceased mask lover who had a show called Masks at the James Cohan Gallery in NYC in 2008. I can’t help wondering where it is now. The larger photo with model may have been taken recently. The smaller one was taken by me and is on page 105 of Masks of the World by Ibold and Yohn.  Bob, 1289  A

  • 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…