• Unknown

    Mystery mask

    Q: I recently purchased this mask for my collection and have had zero luck identifying it’s origin. It measures 9″ across x 12″ tall x 5″ deep. It is made of some variety of ceramic clay–possibly terracotta in part. The back side includes speckling but I am not knowledgeable enough to discern authentic from reproduction but am leaning toward older reproduction? Thanks much! JC, 1604 A: This could be an ancient burial mask, or maybe a piece of decorative art. It is not a real mask made for usage by a live human. It is too large, impossible to wear on the face, and easy to damage. Having said that,…

  • Unknown

    Another mystery mask

    Q: I bought this mask at an estate sale about 10 years ago. The individual had about 50 masks in his collection, but with no real focus. Many were tourist pieces… a number from South and Central America. This one was tucked away in a corner… but had no identification. I like Japanese art and this struck me as perhaps an older Noh mask, but there was nothing the family new… or anything with the mask that would give me any indication of history. It is a light wood (almost like balsa) and you can see the grain. The painting detail is rather primitive. I’m good at searching online usually……

  • Unknown

    Popular tourist mask from somewhere

    Q:  I’d like to know more about where this mask is from. I received it as a gift from a guy who didn’t know anything about it. It looks like horse hair around the mask.  Tim, 1496 A:  People have sent  many of these masks to me over the years. I always answer with a disappointing “I think its a tourist mask from somewhere in Asia.” Maybe one of our viewers can remember where they are made.

  • Unknown

    Mystery Mask Contest

    Q:  I have a wooden hand carved mask. It  is 18H x 12.5W x 11D. It was found in storage auction unit that I won. I only know that previous owner traveled a lot in Asia, Africa and many  islands, and from every place he brought something. Wood masks, sculptures, helmets etc, nothing contemporary but  usually very  old antiques and he furnished his house with expensive furniture, pirate furniture made of wood of sunken ships. This mask is one of the collection. Where is it from? How old could it be and how much could it cost. Please, could you help me with that?  Eva, 1481 A:  Eva hasn’t given…

  • Unknown

    Where is this mask from?

    Q:  I am doing some research for a community group on museum objects that are locked away in stores with no information about them. We have located this mask but can not find any information on it.  Tara, 1443 A:  This is a mystery mask. It is labeled “East Africa,” but I doubt if that is where it is from. Though it has a primitive look, this wood carving has been quickly made with steel carving tools and a branding tool. It’s probably made for sale to tourist. The question is “where does it come from?”  If you have any ideas, please make a comment. Let’s help Tara.    …

  • Unknown

    Presentational Javanese mask

    Q:  This well-carved mask has a strong aura to it. My friend said that he had to take it out of his office because of it’s effect on people. What kind of ritual was it used for? Thanks in advance.   Cha, 1415 A:  It is well carved, but then not painted, which is not traditional for a Topeng character mask from Java, Indonesia. The most unusual thing about this item is the carved seal on the back. I wish someone would comment on its origin. I assume the lettering is in Malay. My guess is it was made to be a nice gift for an important person. It could…

  • Mexico,  Unknown

    Don Juan the maskmaker

    Mexico lost a great artist when Juan Horta Castillo, perhaps Mexico’s finest mask maker in recent years, passed away of a heart attack in 2006. He was one of the principal and most sought-after carvers from the famed mask-making village of Tocuaro, Michoacán. He won the national mask contest several times and traveled extensively demonstrating his skills. His sons now carry on his tradition and have made a name for themselves in the art of mask making. The decorative mask we have here is actually piece of fine art sculpture. Don Juan made it for collectors, not to be used in a dance. As I said recently in the blog…

  • Unknown

    Yao shaman’s mask

    There’s a Yao mask in our archives, but this one is old, used and a bit more interesting. It would have been used by a priest or shaman to frighten away evil spirits. The Yao are a large indigenous culture that is in the mountains of southern China, Laos and Vietnam. They are one of the larger ethnic minorities in the area.  1408

  • Unknown

    Old, used Urhobo mask, Nigeria

    Q:  I found this mask at a thrift store. Can you tell me anything about it? Mike, 1399  (no email address)A:  This appears to be a museum quality mask, not a fake. I have shown it to several dealers and collectors, all of whom have different opinions. Now it is published on the Mask Man blog and I am waiting for your opinion. After we hear from you I’ll make a decision and post a comment for all to see. Then something nice will be sent to the winner.  🙂

  • Unknown

    Interesting mystery mask

    Q:  I have been trying to find out more about this mask but have not come very far. Is it maybe a diablo mask? Another possibility would be an Asian mask because of those bulging eyes. The mask fits my face and the holes for the eyes are in the right place, but there are no attachment holes. I suspect that it is a tourist piece.  Roosje, 1357 A:  Thanks for sending in your three excellent photos. Unfortunately, once again, the Mask Man is stumped. I hope someone will help me out. It has a nice form and good colors. Also there are things about it that don’t look like…