• East Asia,  Protection

    Samurai metal face mask

    Solid metal masks were used by the samurais to protect their face in combat. Along with a large helmet and armor over all of his body, the warrior was well protected. A colorful and rather frightening appearance was also important. The superb set of full-body armor from the 18th century is the second photo. Its facial armor is not the same as the close-up. I will categories this mask in both the East Asia and Protection categories. Beautiful work! Japanese folk art, from masks to clay pots, has always been the best in the world… in my humble opinion.

  • Protection

    Protest masks

    I like ethnographic masks from all over the world; also protest, protective, steampunk and sex. You can go thru our archives and see just about everything. In my book, Masks of the World, non-ethnographic masks are covered in pages 166-180. Today we have a Guy Fawkes mask (and another one) used for protests. Not shown are the many masks that portray political personalities. Using masks to cover the face helps protestors in many countries avoid arrest, jail, and even worse. Follow this link to learn more about Guy Fawkes.

  • Protection

    Protective mask for paintball

    Many sports, law enforcement and military use protective masks. They can be very scary to look at, which is done intentionally. Naturally, there are people who collect them. This one is for the sport called paintball where teams shoot at each other with powerful airguns and rubber ball ammunition. No one is supposed to get hurt in the face. This is called an Invert Helix Thermal Paintball Mask and it looks better when used because the little cap covers all of the head. You can easily buy a new one for $30.  

  • Protection

    Hood masks from WW1 & 2

    The first hood mask is from WW1 and was probably made for civilians. The second photo of three women in new masks is from WW2. Both are British in origin. There are a surprising number of collectors who are fascinated with gas masks. Unusual ones like these are rare, but most gas masks are easy to find and inexpensive. You can find more about them in the Protection section under “Categories.”  Bob, 1311

  • Protection

    Argentinian gas mask

    I think we may have posted another gas mask under the category of protection. This one is from Argentinia and is probably old and used.  These kind of things are quite collectable. If you Google “gas mask/images” you will see many different types. Of course, only weird collectors like myself would ever hang them on the walls of a house.  Bob

  • Protection

    Labor Day surprise

    For those of you from countries where baseball is not played, this is a catcher’s mask. It protects the player’s face from a missed, fast-moving hardball. It is a true mask– not a tourist’s souvenir. I love protective masks for their beauty. As Louis Sullivan said, form follows function. Please check out the category called “Protection” to see others. They are all excellent designs. There are many others from different occupations and sports. Most of them can look great on the wall or a stand. You might want to consider getting a beautiful book called Masks by Nunley & McCarty. It contains ethnographic masks from all over the world, plus…

  • Protection

    Early firefighters mask

    Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each, says Jan Weber on her Pinterest site.  It is a firefighter’s respirator mask made in 1918, France, designed and built very well out of brass, leather, mica and rubber. It measures 12″ x 9″ x 10″  I’m sure these protective masks from a 100 years ago were an inspiration for some of the recent steampunk masks.  A+

  • Protection

    WWI tank crew mask

      Q:  Hello Bob, although this mask isn’t mine, my friend would like to know what it is and where it originated. He got it at an auction in London for $200. It seems to be leather with chain-mail. If anyone knows the answer, it’s you! Thanks, Aiden, 1070 A:  This interesting piece of facial armor could come from anywhere in the UK, US or Europe. It is a true mask in that it is worn for a specific purpose. People make or buy these masks for medieval reenactment and possibly some steampunk events. In case you don’t know about these modern-day activities, please Google LARP (Live Action Role Playing),…

  • Protection

    Street Hockey goalie mask

    There are masks that have nothing to do with ritual, ceremony or celebration. One of these categories is protection, and these often scary masks can be great fun to collect. Here we have a old street hockey goalie’s mask. It is made of white, Mylec plastic and has padding, straps and buckles on the rear. Made in Canada, it is the same model worn in the opening scene of the 1996 film Heat. Masks are worn because a speeding puck or out-of-control stick could do serious damage to the face. But there is a secondary reason for the way protective masks are designed. Their appearance can be very intimidating to…

  • Protection

    Kendo protective mask

    Kendo is one of Japan’s martial arts sports based on the two-handed sword fighting of the samurai.  It has evolved into a system of mental and physical training using bamboo sticks. This mask has been worn in many mock fights on the island of Okinawa. Its user would also have been protected by a uniform of quilted cloth panels with a sturdy chest protector and loose pants. What is so interesting about these masks (and those used in other sports) is that they also have the ability to intimidate the opponent. In this way they are not unlike many of the other masks we deal with on this website.  1040