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Toys & Play

Black Horse Mask


The second of two horse head masks made in Czechoslovakia in the Eameses’ collection, this one was worn by Ray when she and Charles posed for photographs at some point in the 1950s. Decades later, marks from her red lipstick are still visible inside the papier-mâché mask. The Eameses had an abiding interest in masks that reflected their commitment to creative play. They began collecting them in the 1940s and even designed a set of their own for children and adults in 1950. Although their mask designs were never put into production, the cardboard-and-paper prototypes show that they envisioned a series of oversized animal masks that playfully departed from the realities of nature. Their designs included a polka-dotted rooster head, a polychromatic crocodile, and even a robot. The Eameses’ love of masks also led them to think expansively about what a mask could be and who—or what—could wear them. They created masks for the trees outside their home, transforming them into lively characters by attaching cut-out eyes, noses, and mouths to their trunks.

  • Medium:Papier-mâché, paint
  • Dimensions:15 x 9 x 17 in. (38.1 x 22.9 x 43.2 cm)
  • Origin:Czechoslovakia
  • Item:T.2019.2.285.2