East Asia

Old Chinese bronze helmet mask

Q: This was a gift. I am curious about it’s value. (later) I finally got in touch with the collector who gifted me the mask. He lived in China for a few years over 30 years ago as an employee of the Cuban government. This is where he purchased the helmet. I did a little more research and found an antique dealer on Etsy who recently sold an almost identical helmet to Kentuckyana Jones in July of this year. Shelly, 1639

A: Both masks are about 10.5 inches in height. The ornament on top is 3 inches. The circumference at the nose is roughly 24 inches. As you can see, they are almost identical. The whitish Jones version is called a Chinese “warring states” helmet mask from the Zhou dynasty, 475-221 BC. The greenish one is Shelly’s.

Lots of bronze fakes have been produced in China to be sold to wealthy Europeans and Americans, probably since the late 19th century. Here are your choices: (1) they both are reproductions, (2) one is real and the other is not, (3) and finally, both are authentic but with minor differences. If you know something about East Asian artifacts please let us hear from you. Inquiring minds want to know.

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