Mexico

What kind of mask is this?

Q:  How much is an appraisal? I have a very large carving of what I believe is an antique Mexican Conquistador with blue glass eyes. I have spent over 5 hours online and haven’t found anything like it. So, time to turn to the experts. Thank you.  Laurie, 1436

A:  I asked her to send me some pictures. She did. The first bearded mask is the one she wants to buy. She also sent pics of other masks in the same collection. That is the second photo which shows 11 antiqued decoratives probably from Guerrero. The mask she wanted looked more like a fake Barbone (bearded guy} or possibly an art mask from China, like the third mask I’ve posted, which is Chinese and has glass eyes.

It occurred to me that the conquistador might be a Guerrero decorative inspired by the Chinese. Those Mexican carvers are capable of all kinds of tricks. We now know that Donald Cordry, the man who wrote the first popular book on Mexican masks in 1980, included many illustrations of decorative masks he thought were authentic. Just a few years later Cordry died and his entire collection was given to the University of Texas. When they discovered that most of the masks were fake, the bad ones were sold. The group of 11 that you see here remind me of those sold. If the bearded mask is really from the Cordry collection, I think it would appeal to some collectors… and bring her more money if she wants to sell it.  C

 

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