Early North Eastern Middle Hills Himalayan Mask, Nepal


A fantastic and large wooden mask from Taeljung in Nepal’s North Eastern Himalayan foothills.

This is a mask that would have been worn during a larger, more serious rite to provide entertainment, and lighten the mood occasionally. The mask wearer would have worn some funny combination of clothes, and engage in hijinks with other masked characters or members of the gathered villages. 

This mask shows the “topi” the distinctive small cotton cap that has long been part of Nepal’s national dress for men. The carving on the hat is made to resemble the typical pattern of the cloth of “topis”. The mask has remnants of hair on the chin, and had a moustache at one time. The artist was likely depicting a particular Nepalese politician or official, and provided the rare opportunity for the assembled to laugh and poke fun at officialdom.

The mask has a lustrous surface and patina and dates from the late 19th to early 20th century.

Authentic, well carved old Himalyan masks are now recognized as equal companions of the great masking traditions of other continents, including Africa. Because of inherent scarcity and civil strife of recent years, quality pieces have become increasingly rare and difficult to source. Mounted on a custom museum stand. 

length: 33 cm / 13 in
width: 23 cm / 9 in
depth: 13 cm / 5 ¼ in
weight: 0.70 kg / 1 lb 8 oz

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