Middle Hills masks. Four Western Nepal (?) primitive masks. Himalayan tribal masks. Ethoflorence collection and photo archive.

Four Western Himalayan (?) masks, in the same style, from the same hand or workship, surely from the same remote and unknown village. Quatre masques  de L’Himalaya Occidental, de la même main . Vier Westliche Himalajamaskes, von derselben Hand . Cuatro máscaras Occidental del Himalaya, de la misma mano. Четыре Западных Гималайских маска, от той же руки . 同じ手または村からの4つの西部のヒマラヤマスク。Quattro maschere della regione occidentale dell’Himalaya, da un confronto degli elementi stitlistici propri di ciascuna si può dedurre provengano certamente dallo stesso remoto villaggio, siano probabilmente opera della stessa mano o dello stesso contesto artigiano.


These masks were collected at the end of the 80′ like a single group in the Katmandu market.

 It’s maybe the first time that is possible to see toghether a group of  “primitive” masks used in the same dance performances.

The mask n1, the more complex from an iconographic view point has a double ambiguos  expression of the mouth, a detail really interesting and rarely seen in other masks of the region.

1a m1

Mask n1, frontal view

1f m1

Assimetric style of the face, double expression of the mouth.

 Ambiguos mask in which there is a double expression of the face.

 If the actor covers the upper part of the mouth obtains a ridicolous expression with two deformed teeth (we can re-find this kind of exagerate phisic  deformation in many masks of the Terai region).

1g m1

But if the actor covers the lower part of the mouth, the mask becomes terryfing with it’s aggressive teeth. 

This second expression of the teeth is common also with the other three masks of the group in which we can find only one kind of  aggressive expression.

 About the theory that some of the so called “tribal” or “primitive” masks of the Himalaya could be represent something of symbolic and atypic, about the “narrateur bouffon”, a kind of mask that can makes one laugh, but also make one scared, on “Himalaya masques” Galerie le Toit du Monde Paris, Editions Findakly 2007 there is an interesting writing “Travestissements A propos des masques dits – primitifs-” by Ms Gisèle Krauskopff.

 Among the masks edited  in this catalogue also the n.64 pag.108 is in my opinion an ambigous mask with a double expression of the mouth. Wrathful expression in the above part of the mouth and a long tongue in the belower.

1b m2

Mask n2 .

1c m3

 Mask n3.

1d m4

 Mask n4.

1e m1

Double expression of the mask n1 detail view. 

1i m2

Mask n2 detail view. The style of the teeth is really similar with the n1.

1l m3

Mask n3 detail view. Also in this mask the style of the teeth is similar with the pieces n.1,2 and 4.

1m m4

Mask n4 detail view. From the examination of the common  teeth  style of these 4 masks we can start to guess the same origin , hand or group, of the items.

1h m1

This my thesis is renforced and confirmed from the examination of the back mounth side style of the masks. Mask n1 back side detail.


Mask n2 back side view.


Mask n3 back side view detail.

138 - Copia

Mask  4 back side view  detail.

1n m1

Returning to the mask n1, the most interesting and complex of the group, we can see from this photo the assimmetry of the ears , the style of the eyes, common with the other masks, the strong  style of the long nose that start directly from the forehead .

1o m1

Mask n1 detail view.

1r m1

Mask n1 detail view.

1s m2

Mask n2 frontal view detail. The style of the eyes is similar with the mask n1, 3 and 4.

1t m2

Mask n2 another frontal view detail.

2b m3

Mask n3 frontal view.

2c m4

Mask n4 frontal view.


Mask n1 side a and b view. The photographic comparation tht folow  of the side styles of these masks confirm the common origin of the items.

2d m1

Superb and powerfull character of the mask n1. Side view.


Mask n1 side view detail.


Mask n1 side view detail.


Mask n2 side a view.


Mask n2 side b view.

082 (2)

Mask n2 side b view detail.

084 (2)

Mask n2 side b view detail.


Mask n3 side view.


Mask n3 side view detail.


Mask n4 side view detail.


Mask n4 side view detail.


Mask n4 side view detail.

Only for a stylistic comparation we re-edit an unusual  primitive himalalayan mask in which the style, the expression  of the teeth is something of similar with these for masks.

Comparative mask frontal view.

Previous edited on:


Frontal view detail.


Frontal view detail.

257 - Copia (2)

Frontal view detail.


Side a view.


Side a view detail.



Side b view.


Side b view detail.


Side B view detail.


One thought on “Middle Hills masks. Four Western Nepal (?) primitive masks. Himalayan tribal masks. Ethoflorence collection and photo archive.

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