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  • Monday, April 10, 2006

    Urban population explosion

    In my apartment, to be exact.

    So I mentioned that I collect masks from all over the world. Most were bought in country by family, friends, me. One or two [cough, cough] I admit to having purchased online. But to be honest, the really, really cool ones were hand-carried across vast expanses back to my wall. North America, South America, Central America, Asia, Europe (yes, Europe), Africa, the South Pacific. None yet from Australia, but I have high hopes since my mother is there now!!!

    For instance, this colorful little one was brought by my friend from Sri Lanka. In fact, she left the remote village where this was made the day before the tsunami hit Christmas of 2004. She told me that she believes that the village, the shop, etc. were all destroyed. Truly devastating. We, however, were all grateful that she left the day before the big wave hit -- because she originally had planned on being there longer. And my friend also told me that visiting this little village to collect my mask (she ALWAYS brings a mask back from her journeys for me) was the highlight of her visit in Sri Lanka. How cool is that?

    And I also have one from New Orleans that I venture to say is a survivor where the shop may not have been. I have a number that were actually used in theater (Japan, Indonesia), as opposed to having been made for tourists. Some are cultural artifacts (legal, don't worry) such as the Cherokee Boogie man mask and the Pacific Northwest first nations' masks. Some are cheapie tourist items. Most are a bit of both. Many are one of a kind. They are made of ceramics (clay, bisque, plaster), wood, leather, metal, cloth, coconut shell, paper mache, and resin and are adorned with all sorts of natural and created decorations. Believe it or not, this is only a portion of my collection. I don't remember the exact count, but I have something like 50 masks representing some 30-odd countries. The true antiques are on another wall in my apartment.

    I don't know how much my friends/family paid for the ones they've brought me. However, I have paid between <$1 and several hundred $$ to acquire a mask, but they are priceless to me.

    And like I said, someone is gonna get rich someday selling these on eBay! But not anytime soon.

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