The yoghurt mask

Kran mask Dogon mask culture faked object
Left: Faked Kran mask - Right: Faked Dogon mask. Both masks persumibly treated with yoghurt to look old and used.


There are people who swore on facial yoghurt masks, with the effect that the skin should look younger and fresh.


But there are people who swore on yoghurt masks as "dramaticly different moistruizer" to fake wood looking old and used.


No matter what you use, you get wrinkles anway, especially when you buy a fake object.


But how to tell, if an object got treated with yoghurt or other milk products with lactic acid bacteria that changes the surface of wood? How to decide, what is a crusty patina and what are nasty leftovers of milk product treatments?


You can't tell just by the surface, but you can tell by taking off splinters. Humidity has the strongest impact to change wood surfaces and structures over the time, but natural moist does not change the colour or structure of wood that dramaticly in a short time. When there are chips and splinters and the below wood is light, alsmost white or even greenish white, then you know, that the used wood is relatively fresh and young. Is that the case and only the surface looks blackish dark brown, then the object persumibly received a yoghurt treatment. The lactic acid bacterias destroy just the outside of the wood surface and make it look rotten, but don't destroy the inner part. 


Old wood changes colour in the aging process. Oak wood for example will turn from off white to an orange shade. Other species of wood show a red, yellow or brown tone. See the Tugubele statue in the former article "First rule: Dirt is not patina - part 1".


The Kran mask and the Dogon mask above are typical examples where there was a treatment to make wood, even cracks, looking old and rotten. The colour of the wood under the surface is light and fresh. In the past, I did show these two masks to several people and the opinions where very different. Some described them as authentic, others said that they obviously are faked. We all know, if you ask 10 experts, you receive 10 different opinions. It was Karl-Heinz Krieg who explained me the manipulation with lactic acid bacterias on wooden objects.


Beside the treatment to make the Dogon mask looking old, this mask is also obvisously a fake, because it wont fit on your head. The back is too narrow.

Fake Kran mask, Ivory Coast.

29,5 x 18,0 x 10,5 cm, wood.



- Wenn Neuordnung Ordnung schafft, Markus Ehrhard, pages 194 - 195


Fake Dogon mask, Ivory Coast.

34,5 x 15,0 x 21,0 cm, wood.



- Wenn Neuordnung Ordnung schafft, Markus Ehrhard, pages 194 - 195

Copyright content and images by Markus Ehrhard