The use of masks extends throughout the Himalayan region, from locations as diverse as the tropical lowlands of Nepal --- the Terai --- to the high mountain villages of the Sherpas to the monasteries of Tibet and Bhutan. Most Himalayan masks are created locally of indigenous materials for particular ceremonies and are put away for the remainder of the year.

Dating masks is a tricky business, since their form varies but little over long expanses of time and their condition depends so much upon individual conditions of storage and use. A mask used only once a year and then kept wrapped and put away in a storage box may well show less wear and patina than a much more recent mask which has been kept hanging near the kitchen fire of a chimneyless stone house. Scientific testing is generally the only proof positive of the age of a mask unless one comes upon the rare example which can be dated from the written record or from the memories of these who remember stories of when it was new.

We therefore avoid venturing into the realm of pure speculation and will stay away from attempting to date these masks. We will however state that all the masks shown here were created for local use and were used as such. These are not the cheap masks sold to unwary tourists. They should be viewed as cultural artifacts of artistic merit, and viewed this way, age is of but secondary importance.

If making inquiries about a specific mask, please be sure to include its inventory number.   A brief description and the dimensions of each mask can be found on its enlargement page. For prices please send us an email requesting the mask price list.

Mask Index Page

Masks from Tibet, Nepal, and India - 1

elephant mask from Nepal Our original page of Himalayan masks

Masks from Tibet, Nepal, and India - 2

tiger mask from Nepal Our newest page of Himalayan masks
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All photographs are the property of Paul Morse and may not be used without permission.

Last updated: Friday, August 20, 2010
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