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I have two of these masks to list and they are just fantastic! During Chinese New Year, which is based on a lunar calendar and lasts two weeks, there are street performances with large masks, one of which is the "Lion Dance". The life-size lion mask fits over a mans head and shoulders, and the full costume takes two or more people to operate it.

In North China these dances are done for entertainment, and for the dancers to show off their physical prowess. In the south the dances have a more ritual meaning, and are done to scare away evil spirits, bring luck, and happiness. It is an almost universal idea that a scary mask scares away evil spirits.

This guy is a toy, "puppet" size version of the big lion mask, and it is extremely rare to find a vintage one!! This is a smaller and more "liony" sort of face than the other one I have listed, and he has jingle bells on him.

He is made of paper mache and painted with wonderful detail, some parts are floral relief with gold outlines. He has real fur trim which is sheep wool or maybe angora goat, cloth ears, and red pom poms on springs on his nose. One spring has been stretched out. He has wild eyes with metallic paper centres and painted teeth in his open close mouth. He has some sort of third eye crown motif on top of his head. Behind that is a small black horn. As I said he has two silvery jingle bells.

On the back, someone once decided they didn't like his cape "body" and trimmed part of it off. It is folded up inside the head. It is made of several layers of fabric and trim. He is in somewhat fragile vintage condition with a little bit of fur missing. The head part measures about 4" by 5 1/2"

He is wonderfully ferocious looking and decorative. I could visualize him in a spare neutral setting, or in with a jumble of bohemian treasures, or in a kids room!

You can see this mask in these treasuries:

This will ship with tracking, International buyers please message me for a shipping quote, and let me know if you would like tracked or economy shipping.

Treasury item: Chinese new year vintage lion nian mask


  • Vintage item from the 1950s
  • Materials: paper mache, fabric, trim, sheep or goat wool, sequins, bells, pom poms
  • Ships from Canada to select countries.
  • Feedback: 337 reviews
  • Favorited by: 60 people