• 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

  • Protection

    The balaclava can be scary

    Though this website deals mostly with ethnographic masks from cultures all over the world, we occasionally see masks used for protection and other purposes. A few people, like yours truly, enjoy collecting them as well. In our new book, Masks from Around the World, chapter 13 is called “Protection & Protest” and the next one is “Steampunk & Sex.” This mask is on page 173 with the following description. 958 Balaclava The 3-holed black balaclava was designed as full cold-weather protection for the head. During the Crimean War in 1854 handmade balaclavas were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the winter weather. Today they are…

  • Native America,  Protection

    Eskimo sun glasses

    Q:  These antique whale bone/scrimshaw goggles came from the Aleutian Islands near Alaska.  Would you have any idea the approximate age of these goggles?  How valuable would these be?  PJ, 873 A:  Indigenous people in the extreme Northern parts of the world have always carved goggles out of wood or bone with thin slits for eye holes. 

  • Protection

    Rare protective mask

    Q:  I’m a collector based in Chicago who specializes in mostly gas masks or war masks weather they be cold weather pieces or pilot respirators. I have a few very scarce pieces that I was wondering if you would be interested in purchasing. The mask pictured is an unknown WWI era Italian prototype mask. It was obtained from a very well known collector in Spain who owns about 2500 masks. It comes in a tin which is stamped 1916 but the mask may possibly be post-war and just stuffed into an older tin. It is definitely pre-WWII though. It looks to be based off of the tampon mask but has…