This Nepalese tribal mask is a crude version of a traditional Buddhist monk’s. A village shaman in the Middle Hills region of Nepal would have carved this hardwood by himself in order to perform healing, initiation and other rites. The underlying animist presence among shaman, which is clearly demonstrated here, is a significant contributing factor to the design of this mask. It shows evidence of having had much use, with a natural patina derived exclusively from being handled over many years. That’s animal hair glued to the chin. It is very old. The higher altitude of the Himalayan region greatly contributes to the preservation of wooden objects like this, whose age can far surpass those of similar objects coming from Africa, for example, where the extreme dampness in the lower altitudes can quickly rot them away.
Categories: India & Himalayas