Purveyors of museum quality ethnographic regalia from Africa & Oceania!
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Kinyago offers authentic, danced and ritually used African Masks. We have a retail gallery in Sacramento, California where we sell our African Masks to people from the San Francisco Bay area as well as around the world.
Kinyago is a Swahili word which translates as mask, masquerade or entertainer. This website offers authentic, ethnographically crafted, used and or danced pieces and or pieces of exceptional quality and craftsmanship from Africa and Oceania. This website does not offer tourist art, export quality and or reproduction masks or fakes - we stand behind the fact that these items have met our very strict guidelines to determine that they are factually used pieces showing excellent patina and or are of exceptional quality and interest. These masks are for the serious collector and or permanent museum collections. The masks on these pages are a tiny sampling of our huge inventory. If you are looking for a particular mask, artifact or tribal regalia, please contact us. To view our current online collection, view our gallery of African masks and regalia.
We offer African Dan masks, Bobo masks, Bwa masks, Baule masks, Guru masks, Senufo masks, Grebo masks, Yuare masks, Makonde masks, Dogon masks as well as dozens of other tribal masks, costumes and regalia.
TYPES OF MASKS
Professionals and collectors recognize that there are different qualities and types of African masks. A very large percentage of what comes from Africa is made for the export market and was never intended nor used for traditional dances, masquerades or traditional ethnographic use.
Ethnographic (Danced) Masks
These are serious collector and museum quality masks. We have hundreds of masks in stock - what is online is just a small sampling. If you're interested in masks, or are looking for a particular one, let us know, we probably have it.
All of the masks in this category (we sell other styles of masks in other categories) are authentic, danced and/or ritually used pieces. Age can vary from relatively contemporary (less than 20 years old) to vintage (20 to 79 years old) or antique (over 80 years old). Scott Farrell, the owner of Zanzibar, personally selects and guarantees each of these masks for quality. Scott has over eighteen years of dealing in African pieces and has a very good eye spotting fakes and forgeries.
We attempt to provide as much information as possible, including qualified guesses at approximate age. Please know that there are actually very few masks that originate in the 19th century as many websites, museums, dealers and sellers claim. In some cases we actually have provenance of when a mask was collected, other times not.
All the masks in this category will come with a certified, signed certificate of authenticity and simple insurance appraisal along with a detailed information sheet with photos, describing the mask, any known provenance, along with traditional use(s) and a history of both the tribe and the country(ies) of (potential) origin. We've tried to keep the information basic in this listing - you will receive more detailed write-ups with the mask, and you may always request additional photos or information. Feel free to call Scott and ask about particular pieces.
As African peoples migrate from rural areas to the cities, as they switch from their traditional (animist) faiths and religions to Islam/Muslim or Christianity and as more Western influence arrives, fewer and fewer African peoples are keeping their traditions and thus their ethnographic production of pieces up.
Renaissance masks are African masks that appear to be authentic in quality of carving, wood selection and design, however they were either carved directly for sale or were sold before any ritual use. They are often carved by the same carvers of the ethnographic masks, however they do not show use or wear.
Most African Masks are reproductions of masks that are either no longer made and or used/danced or are a more affordable version of these. MANY websites and dealers sell these as "OLD" however they are contemporarily produced and priced accordingly. Often softer, easier to carve woods are used, shortcuts are taken in their production (ie fewer and larger holes drilled with tools rather than being burned out) as well as falsification of patinas (fake patinas, age or use marks), purposeful damage (including insect damage).
The producers of these masks often go to elaborate means to make these masks look old and authentic. We've seen carvers use old wood from fence and hut posts, bury wood for later use, expose the finished pieces to termites and other insects, drop them into latrines and mud holes, bury the pieces, drag them behind their cars... leave them to decay in the open, etc. Only a trained, experienced eye is usually good at determining these forgeries. MANY dealers and museums showcase these pieces as authentic.
Decorative Masks Tourist (Airport) Art Masks
Masks that do not necessarily conform to exact standards of the original masks that these are based on and are carved for decorative purposes. Sometimes called Tourist Art or Airport art masks, they are still functional as display pieces. Please note: all of our decorative masks are at least MADE IN AFRICA - you'll find MANY online and in stores/galleries that are actually made in China and Indonesia! Buy what you like.. and usually very affordable. These are nice quality for the price(s). Many of these masks are made in Ghana or Kenya.
AS OF APRIL 2013 THIS WEBSITE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS CHECK BACK REGULARLY
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