• Africa

    Special Dan mask from West Africa

    Here is an unusual Dan mask from Liberia in the late 19th-early 20th century and now in one of the Smithsonian museums. It is nicely carved in a slightly different way, and features a white paint treatment that really got my attention. I like this mask a lot! A Coronavirus suggestion: spend more time on your computer and share an interesting mask picture with us. You won’t hurt anyone. 1672

  • Africa

    Bozo puppet headpiece from Mali

    Q: In keeping with the current African theme, I thought you might like to see this large Bozo mask I picked up a few years ago. It’s approx 22″ tall by 14″W. I really liked the bright color and the cartoonish facial expression. I don’t think it’s very old, but it’s very well made, and one of the more interesting Bozo masks I’ve seen online. The following information is from the seller: “This is a fabulous Bozo Puppet that comes from Mali. Bozo Puppets are used by the people of the Bozo tribe of Central Mali to tell the stories of their tribe. The young men’s association is responsible for…

  • Africa

    Guro elephant mask from West Africa

    I sometimes find nice pictures on the internet to share with my viewers. This beautifully carved Guro elephant mask represents the spirit of Gu, the wife of Zamble; a supernatural being. Gu is often depicted as an animal. The Guro revere five: the antelope, the hyena, the leopard, the crocodile and the elephant. These are animals mostly found in the Savannah and tropical forest where the 200,000-strong tribe lives. The Guro people are found in Ivory Coast; their art is closely related to those of their neighbors, the Baule’s. Why don’t you share with our viewers some scans of a mask in your collection? Bob, 1670

  • Africa

    Chokwe Pwo mask from Central Africa

    Q: I can’t find anything like this to see an approximate value! I got it from an estate sale of a serious collector who was needing his home cleared so he could move. I have dozens of mask/pieces that I’m trying to identify right now, so any help with this one would be greatly appreciated. Kelli, 1669 A: You have a charming mask with marvelous hair and carefully woven natural cloth. On a stand it would be especially decorative. I would call it a collectible reproduction that should be quite affordable. But I won’t reject the possibility of it being an authentic artifact. You might want to consider having an…

  • Africa

    Pende Mbangu (sickness) mask

    Q: Bought this mask 8 years ago on the streets of Manhattan for $50. Guy that sold it said it came from the Pende people of the Congo. I’m wondering, even though I believe it’s made for tourists, is it really made in Congo and shipped from there? How authentic is it? How to check that? I was drawn to this mask because it felt more like it choose me than I choose it. Nihil, 1668 A: It represents a cursed man, someone who has been struck by sickness or has had deformities cast upon him by sorcerers. The mask comes from the Central Pende region in the Bandundu province,…

  • Africa

    Dan mask from Liberia or Ivory Coast

    Q: I got this mask at an open air market in New Orleans over 25 years ago and it has been hidden away on a basement shelf for the last 20 years. At the time I collected masks, but don’t any more. The person who sold it had two similar masks, but I only bought one. He said it was an African funeral mask…but I don’t remember any other details that he may have given. Some of the cowrie shells and stitching have come loose – I included the pictures, dust and all. I don’t know if it has any value or if there is more to the story. Brenda,…

  • India & Himalayas

    Garuda mask from India or the Himalayas

    Q: Sending pictures. It’s probably not valuable, but it is very unique. I look forward to hearing back from you. Vicky, 1666 A: Garuda is the bird god, an important character in both Buddhist and Hindu mythologies. It is based on huge eagle who rules the sun and skies. He can capture anything he wants with his powerful claws. Wearing these masks costumed dancers perform religious ceremonies in several Asian countries. Your papier mache mask is good looking and traditional in style. I’m guessing the height is about one foot. It could have been used, but was likely made for tourists and collectors. Could you share with us in the…

  • Mexico

    Useful tourist mask

    Q: I purchased this helmet in 1978 from El Changarro in Nogales, Mexico for $100. El Changarro is no longer an antiques and accessories store in Nogales, MX. As you can see, I had it made into a side table. Nancy, 1665 A: A 20-inch diameter, round glass top would look perfect on this base. Thanks for sharing your idea with us. You paid a bit too much for this Guerrero-made helmet mask back in 1978, but now you have a piece of furniture that is very cool. An interior decorator would love to buy one for $250 and charge the client a lot more! If one of our viewers…

  • Caribbean,  South America

    Woven Indian mask from Panama

    Q: Found this “mask” at a thrift shop for 99 cents. I think it’s a mask, but have no idea of origins, or what it was used for. It is small and is tightly woven and beautifully put together. Any ideas? Mickey, 1664 A: Many of the photos sent to the Mask Man are of masks found in thrift shops. I usually don’t publish them because they are poorly made fakes. Yours is one of the few that deserves being in a good collection… providing it is large enough to be worn. (Small ones are for tourists only and therefore less desirable for collecting.) Either way, yours is a beautiful…

  • Europe

    Old European mask?

    Q: I bought this mask as a “Perchtenmaske” on Ebay, but I think it´s not European. Its made of leather and the nose and the eyes are wooden. Maybe you can give me some information. Peter, 1663 A: After studying your photos I think you might have an old, used artifact that could be worth a lot of money. It certainly looks authentic. But where is it really from? Perchten is an ancient pagan festival meant to drive out the devils of winter in early December with a Perchtenlauf or parade of these devil like creatures through the center of Austrian villages. Yours also might be a type I have…