• South America

    Ecuador pig mask

    Q:  This is another one of the exciting masks Kathleen discovered in the storage unit contents she won at auction early this year.  As you can see, her three photos of the pig are quite good. Otherwise, the only thing she could tell me was that the pig’s ears were real.  1059 A:  Look at the front, side and rear views of the mask. You can see that it has been used a lot and repainted. Good photography can be so helpful. The Quechua-speaking Indians in the Andes Mountains running through Ecuador have been practicing masquerade for centuries. Their masks are carved out of heavy hardwood and the eye holes…

  • South America

    Black Moreno from La Paz

    My partner, Troy, will be in Bolivia looking for masks in a few weeks. So I thought you might enjoy seeing a very nice example from Aaron’s collection. The character is called “Moreno” and he is paraded in the Senor del Gran Poder festival of the capitol, La Paz. Other cities in Bolivia have somewhat different celebrations, but they all use masks of incredibly fine workmanship, many of which are made of sheet metal like this one. Masquerade in Bolivia is as spectacular as those of the Lenten festivals in Bavaria, the dance dramas of Bali, Japanese Noh theater, and our own Northwest Coast Indians. Let’s all wish Troy well…

  • South America

    Euro-Mexican mask

    Q:  I purchased this mask about 10 years ago from an online auction where it was described as a Mexican “Ranchero” mask. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much more detail from the listing. I was hoping you, or someone who visits your site, might recognize this style of mask, and perhaps identify the region it came from. It’s certainly the work of a highly skilled craftsman. The wood is thick, but very light, and there are four heavy duty staples around the perimeter for straps. The inside is smooth and nicely contoured for comfort. I don’t think it was ever used, but it was definitely made to be worn.  Dan, 1003…

  • South America

    Old Bolivian funeral mask

    Q:  I acquired this silver mask in Bolivia about 30 years ago at a price of ca $100. At the time I was told that it is a funeral mask worn by the living who attended a funeral. Size of the mask is 5,5 by 4,5 inches. Any information that you are able to provide will be greatly appreciated.  Gideon, 1001 A:  At that small size and without eye holes, this is not something to wear. It would appeal to tourists and some collectors. There is a similar, but larger, mask on page 158 of my new book, Masks of the World. It says “this Pre-Columbian mask is 8″ high…

  • South America

    Jaguar or leopard mask?

    Q:  Hey Bob, Troy tells me if you guys 1) can tell, 2) are interested: If this might be Congo or something I’d like to save it… if it is a Mexican, South or Central American Tigre mask I want to find value and sell. My opinion is that it’s not a concoction or ploy and has age, but I don’t really know. So how about a mask for Orange Umber here?  Arthur, 971 A:  The best I can guess, this is a Jaguar mask meant to be worn in some kind of ceremony by an Amazon Indian tribe. It seems to be made of bark cloth and natural black…

  • South America

    Payaso mask from the mountains of Ecuador

    Q:  I have recently been to Ecuador and I acquired this mask. It is a Payaso mask from a carver friend in a village of Cotopaxi province. It is a copy of a very old mask in another village at the feet of one of the volcanoes there. The villagers asked the carver to make a copy, so he did – he made actually two of them, one also for me, luckily. Honestly, it is one of the best recently made and to-be-worn masks I have ever come across; hard pine wood. And it is the only Payaso with a beard and a heart on the forehead – most other…

  • South America

    Chane Indians from NW Argentina

    This mask was one of many Kathleen discovered in the storage unit she won at auction. It is an animal, perhaps a rabbit, that I would like to know more about. It is very appealing. Note the design, the teeny cheeks, and the marvelous little lips. I hope someone knows more about it and will share a comment with us.

  • South America

    Black man sticking his tongue out

    Q:  It’s not for sale, but I need to have an idea of the origin of the mask. It’s for research and I don’t even know the name. You guys seem to have some knowledge about masks. Is it Japanese?  Tayra, 925 A:  Could be Japanese, or from someplace else in Asia. It might have helped to see a photo of the rear. The best we can hope for is that some will send in a helpful comment. In the meantime, tell us a little about your research.  

  • South America

    Amazon Indian spirit mask

    Q:  I just uncovered this mask of my fathers who passed almost 20 years ago.  It’s in a plexiglass frame, so I can only get the front view unfortunately.   It has many colorful feathers and I think shell around the eyes.  Any thoughts on where it might be from would be greatly appreciated.  Raaismom, 921 A:  Made by the Tapirape tribe in the southeast lowlands of the Brazilian Amazon, this large mask is called a “big face” in Portuguese. Note how beautiful the toucan and parrot feathers are. I believe these masks were made to display the spirits of enemy warriors. This valuable piece of Tapirape art deserves to…

  • South America

    China Supay half-mask from Bolivia

    Q:  I have a real proclivity for Bolivian masks, and the three here are at least 20 years old.  The China Supay has seen a lot of use, and the foam on the back is nearly worn off.  Aaron, 894 A:  It is always a treat to share one of your latest acquisitions with our viewers. This is an excellent example of a classic Bolivian mask. The Bolivians take masquerade very seriously. Their huge carnival in Oruro and the big festival in La Paz have got to be among the most spectacular masquerades in the world. Interestingly, most of the masks in both cities are carefully crafted out of sheet…