Q: I received this mask from an estate of a friend. It is at least 50 yrs old and was bought in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The horns are loose but real horn as are the teeth real teeth, as you can probably tell. There is a snake head sticking out of the mouth. Would it be worth restoring? I want to keep it. I have another one which is similar. Jim, 613
A: For starters, the mask was made in Mexico rather than Ecuador,
and it would have been for tourist consumption, not traditional usage. Collectors are not going to be interested in this, so it is good that you want to keep it. Repair is a perfect option. But try to fix as little as possible. I think anyone skilled at woodworking could do a nice job for you, so you don’t have to use a restoration expert and pay a lot of money. Fixing it will take the mask from D to C.
I would like to know more about fixing chipped paint on old masks. Are you willing to see photos of masks such as this one in need of repair and to advise whether the value is minimal so that we can feel free to fill in missing paint? Thanks, Alicia