• 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…

  • South America

    Ticuna Indian mask with full costume

    Q:  My Aunt and I are on a search to find a new home for a set of Ticuna Indian artifacts her mother collected from the Amazon over 40 years ago.  Please let us know if you’d like me to send you the photos to see if you have any information about them or any interest in inquiring them.  Johnny, 876 A: First of all, apologies to everyone for my failure to do any posts in the previous week.

  • South America,  Unknown

    Strange mask of natural materials

    Q: I found it in a box at a garage sale in Naples, FL.. The lady said it was in her grandfathers garage with a bunch of other “junk”. I payed 5 dollars for it. The feathers feel real the face portion seem to be some type of pod that may have been closed at one point and then opened. The teeth seem real although they look more like animal teeth on the back it looks like a clay way molded so as when the feathers came through the front they would stick in the clay and stay in place when it dried.

  • South America,  Unknown

    Great folk art carving

    Q: The heavy hardwood mask with a star on the forehead is, I was told, an older carnival mask from Trinidad & Tobago. It supposedly represents a policeman (hence the star). I’m not sure all this is accurate, but it does make some sense. I’ve never seen a mask quite like this one before. What do you think? Aaron, 838 A: You have a good eye for quality. I think this is an authentic mask, but like you, I’m not aware of carnival masks from Trinidad & Tobago looking anything like this.

  • South America

    Ticuna Indian ceremonial mask

    Q:  Around 35 years ago, I used to live in San Francisco.  I was very friendly with the senior management at Macy’s Department Stores.  I had their top designer come out to my house to determine decorations….He told me that Macy’s SF had a South American exhibit in their downtown location…part of the exhibit were these masks from a museum in Ecuador…when the exhibit was over, the museum would not pay to have much of the exhibit returned, which included these masks.  Not knowing what to do with them, their designer decided to use them in my house for a part of the fee they charged me…he told me they…

  • South America

    Mexico or Ecuador?

    Q:  I purchased this mask at an arts and crafts fair here in Mexico City. I believe it is originally from the state of Michoacan, but it could be from Guerrero or Oaxaca. I am most interested in masks related to devils or death. I attempt to obtain mask that are “bailadas” which means masks that have been used in some sort of festivity or ritual.  Carlos, 736 A: Thanks for explaining the types of masks that interest you most. I’d love to see more of them.

  • South America

    Old Peru wood mask

    Q:  What are your thoughts on this mask from Peru? Wood, chiseling, and depth all seem rather unique and not similar to what I normally see in other countries. I am surprised to think Peru has animals on the front of their masks like Mexican masks might. This one is claimed to be from the 1850s, but nothing about the string, or patina on the mask would attest to this. Does not seem like its a used mask, or an antique.  Nate, 726 A:  Nate, I’m amazed at how you continue to find interesting masks.