A lion head from a traditional Chinese dance costume is now on display at the Royal B.C. Museum. The mask arrived in poor condition with much of its bamboo frame broken as well as the paper and fur soiled.

A lion head from a traditional Chinese dance costume is now on display at the Royal B.C. Museum. The mask arrived in poor condition with much of its bamboo frame broken as well as the paper and fur soiled.

Refurbished lion head from a traditional Chinese dance costume on display at Royal B.C. Museum

Believed to be made sometime between the 1950s and 1980s, the mask was donated to the museum

  • Feb. 19, 2015 9:00 a.m.

A lion head from a traditional Chinese dance costume received a new lease on life, thanks to the Royal B.C. Museum.

Believed to be made sometime between the 1950s and 1980s, the mask was donated to the museum from Thomas Stark and Joyce Piercy, owners of the Out of the Mist Gallery.

It arrived in poor condition with much of its bamboo frame broken as well as the paper and fur soiled.

Museum staff believe the mask was used previously for practice by students at the Vancouver Chinese Freemasons Athletic Association.

Officials are baffled over how the mask made it to auction where it was bought by Out of the Mist Gallery. Retired masks do not carry the distinguishing red ribbon, but this mask does.

“According to the local lion head master it was not supposed to leave the centre because it still had a red ribbon,” said Tzu-I Chung, history curator at the museum.

The museum sent the lion head to Ottawa to be refurbished at the Canadian Conservation Institute. It took nearly two years for conservators to complete the project.

“You could see a lot of wear and tear,” said Chung.

The mask is on display until March 6 in the third floor lobby of the Royal B.C. Museum.