Bali & Java

Javanese tourist mask

Q:  Would like to know origin of this mask. Very light weight and paint looks original. Bought, as usual, at a thrift shop. Thinking Java?  Mickey, 1285

A:  It is from Java, but not old. It is easy to see that this decorative wall-hanging was quickly carved, painted with some nice colors, and then antiqued to make it look old. Antiquing is easy to do with stained varnish and a rag. On this piece it is obvious, but some mask makers are very skilled and can fool you. Mickey bought it at a thrift store for very little money, but some tourists pay a lot more thinking the mask is authentic. I would advise people to always assume they’re purchasing a fake and pay accordingly.  C-

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