Africa

New fake of Dan bird mask

Q: A good friend of mine is selling his collection of antiques because unfortunately he has to be admitted to a care home because of his advanced age. He offers me this ‘bird mask'(see attached photos). I like beautiful, old things. I am not an expert on masks at all. It does not seem to me to be a product for the tourists, but to be tribal, ceremonial and ‘old’. Can you help me with the determination and how much can I spend without paying too much? For the time being, I cannot provide you with additional information other than these photos. Eduard, 1727

A: Similar “old masks” have been coming on the market in recent years. These Dan birds could even come from west-central Côte d’Ivoire, but don’t bet on it. Fakes are made all over Africa. They can be made quickly and then aged to perfection with some sophisticated method. You should pay what you want for decorative art. Frankly, I think the design and rich texture is handsome. C-

Also, check out https://masksoftheworld.com/dan-bird-mask/ to what a very good reproduction looks like.

One Comment

  • Eduard DE MEIRSMAN

    Dear Mr Ibold, Thank you for your short opinion on the ‘Dan bird mask. For me the C- was rather disappointing news, but so be it. Eager to learn, to brush up my limited knowledge and so to avoid as much as possible stupid mistakes in the future ;-), I wonder on which concrete suspicious features and defects you rely on to reach such a verdict. And … what do you mean with “fast aging process to perfection with some sophisticated method” = ?
    I’m very curious about your reply.
    Yours sincerely,
    Eduard

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