What you are looking at is a very old mask, I estimate at 50 years old (at the minimum) which is exceedingly rare in the mask market which is flooded with new masks marketed as being "old." You can tell an antique, or genuine, mask by the quality of the wood, the carving itself, the way the hood holes were made, and the wear to the wood. This piece has all the hallmarks of a mask which is of genuine age with primitive carving techniques on the back of the mask, uneven bore holes, faded pigmentation, and very worn wood. Most masks that are on the market today are made specifically for the western art market and have never been used tribally and are therefore considered "copies." This mask also has the hallmarks of being used for tribal ritual.
This mask is known as a shene-malua of ngaady-a-mwaash mask. It is a representation of the wife of Woot, the historical founder of the tribe. This type of mask is differentiated by the trianglular pigment paint on the face. This mask is absolutely beautiful in its symmetrical markings. To find a mask like this is rare both because of its age and the fact that it still has a lot of its original pigment. The mask also has the raffia hood which, unlike most older masks, ... read more