India & Himalayas

Indian mystery mask

Q:  Interested in the origin of this mask and any information that would help. It is a heavy dark wood carving weighing 13 lbs, 23 x 12 x 7 1/2 inch.  Barry,1178

A: It’s always nice to know when, where and how you got the mask. In your case it may not be a mask because it is so large and heavy, and it is missing eye holes and any way of holding it to the head. Maybe it is an architectural detail. Then why is the rear so carefully scooped out and stained black? I would sure like to know more about this beautifully aged piece of sculpture. Hopefully one of our viewers who knows more about India will make a comment. It would be nice to know the name of the character, festival, city, state… maybe even the age and a guess at authenticity. I can often tell you this kind of info, but not with Indian masks. There is little information available. What a shame from a country so rich in masquerade.

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2 Comments

  • Josh

    What a great Carving! This is carving depicts Lord Narasimha from Hindu religion. He is one of Vishnu’s avatars who incarnates in the form of part lion and part man to destroy an evil, end religious persecution and calamity on earth, thereby restoring Dharma.
    Your carving has excellent detail on his crown, and lots of bright polychrome remaining. I am thinking that it is late 19th early 20thC. Great quality piece. South India. Excellent addition to any collection of this type of art. Thanks for sharing. Josh

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