|Q: I purchased this mask at an auction in Florida 3 years ago and only recently became interested in its background and value. The back is labeled IDA BAGUS ALIT, BALI, 2c. Thank you for any info you might have. Keith, 1802
A: The surname “Anom” should have been written on the rear of your mask. Shops sometimes make spelling mistakes. He was one of the finest Balinese carvers ever… and Bali made the best with masks, with the possible exception of the Japanese. Yours has not been painted. Also, it appears to me fairly old and is not one of his best works.
Ida Bagus Anom was an internationally recognized wood carver, mask and puppet maker, dancer and puppeteer. His success brought him to United States to work at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and the Sante Fe Folk Art Festival. Anom conducted workshops in mask making, mask painting, and masked dance throughout the United States and Anom had a permanent mood mask exhibition at the San Francisco Exploratorium.
Born into a wood carving family in Mas village, Bali, Indonesia, Anom brought over 30 years of expertise into his work. He is now deceased. Drawing on the teachings of generations of carvers who have come before him, Anom was well known for producing authentic and inspired masks, unparalleled by other mask carvers in Bali. His masks were collected by enthusiasts around the world (including royalty) and his work was the most sought after art coming from Bali, Indonesia. Anom could usually be found in his workshop in Bali, where he hand carved each of his works and taught students from around the world in the art of mask making, wood carving, and puppet making. A+