Border Antiques



Bryan J. Stevens Mexican Masks and Puppets 

A Quick Review of a Masterful Book

Review by: Vernon Kostohryz of Border Antiques

Book Entitled:  Mexican Masks and Puppets

                        Master Carvers of the Sierra de Publa

Author:  Bryan J. Stevens

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.,  Atglen PA  19310

Copyright: 2012

Book Seller: Several. Click here for book's listing on


I have been intensely involved with the collection and trade of antique Mexican masks for many years. I have observed that even large museums have been easily fooled by a proliferation of masks that are not authentic ceremonial dance masks. There is evidence that even the authors of some books, either through ignorance or personal gain, have reinforced the trade of masks that were, and are, carved in a spectacular fashion exclusively for the tourist trade.

Since my own mask collection efforts have been largely in the Mexican highlands of the states of Puebla and Veracruz, I have acquired enough knowledge of the carvers there, both past and present, to be convinced of the authenticity of the masks in this book that have been so meticulously documented.
The author has developed a unique and objective rating system that he explains in detail and applies throughout much of the book. Several pages are devoted to the objective evaluation a good mask.  He awards stars within a rating scale of 0-6. Better masks are awarded more stars and by extension are more valuable monetarily if you are attempting to assign a monetary value.

The section devoted to puppets included in the dance ceremonies of the region is also unique.
This book by Dr. Stevens is destined to become the most significant source available for detailed and accurate information about a previously neglected region for mask enthusiasts.
In short, this is a beautiful book, both from a visual and an intellectual perspective.  It sets a new standard for literature in the field.

Vernon R. Kostohryz