MASKS OF THE WORLD presented masks from twenty countries throughout the world — from Indonesia, Japan and Korea to the Islands of the South Pacific to various countries of Africa. They came from Mingei International Museum’s permanent collection, the San Diego Museum of Man, the Chinese Association of San Diego and private collections.

Made from a great variety of materials, including wood, papier mache, clay, fiber, straw and beads, masks depict myriad aspects of life and answer a human need to conceal as well as amplify emotions. They are strongly expressive art forms in all cultures, from the so-called primitive to those considered the most sophisticated, and are used in initiation, healing and death rites, mythic story telling and religious ceremonies, theater and masquerade balls.

The exhibition was funded in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.


On View: Nov 03, 1995 - Dec 31, 1995

Curator: Martha Longenecker

More Exhibitions


Arline Fisch

One of a Kind

Featuring jewelry, body ornaments and a collection of knitted and crocheted wire hanging flowers and sea creatures by internationally-renowned artist, Arline Fisch.

June 17, 2017 - January 7, 2018


Indonesian Shadow Puppets

An intimate exhibition in the Museum’s Theater Gallery featuring a selection of shadow puppets from Indonesia.

July 19, 2017 - March 18, 2018


Art of the Americas

Pre-Columbian Art from Mingei's Collection

Part of the Getty Center-led initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, this exhibition offers the most comprehensive presentation to date of the Museum’s significant holdings of objects used by people from the ancient cultures of Mexico, Central and South America.

September 16, 2017 - February 18, 2018



Recycled and Embroidered Textiles of Bengal

Featuring approximately 40 kantha (decorative stitched quilting made from recycled sari) from the Museum's permanent collection.

October 28, 2017 - March 25, 2018


Weaving a Path

Navajo Women and the Feminine Ethos

December 9, 2017 - May 20, 2018