Date: May 23, 2014 | Story: Tiffany Burgess Adams | Styling: Mandy Keener |
COLLECTOR Davis Tillman HOMETOWN Hot Springs HIS OBSESSION Primitive, vintage, and ball-worthy masks HOW HE BECAME INTERESTED Tillman’s parents were long-time collectors who would later start the family’s famed eponymous antiques shop, Tillman’s Antiques, which is located on Central Avenue in Hot Springs. Their love of antiques and vintage pieces manifested itself in Davis at an early age while they were living in Washington, D.C. Attending the area’s auctions and markets with his parents on the weekends, the young Tillman developed a particular penchant for masks of all kinds, and began to seek them out at the shows.
PRIZED PIECES Everything from rudimentary wooden masks made by members of the African Dan tribe to more colorful, elaborate pieces used in Japanese theater. WE HEAR YOU WERE QUITE YOUNG WHEN YOU FIRST DEVELOPED AN INTEREST IN MASKS. WHEN DID YOU PURCHASE YOUR FIRST PIECE? Yes, I was very young. I went to auctions and antique shows with my parents almost every weekend, and I became interested when I was only about 14 years old. I saved money from my jobs—popping popcorn and baking pizzas—to purchase three Japanese Noh theater masks in an auction. I actually had my dad bid on the first pieces I bought because I was so young. These were the first masks of any monetary or historical significance that I bought. WHY ARE THE MASKS SO ALLURING? Well, it’s interesting because masks have been around for 9,000 years, and they are used all over the world. Everyone from the Greeks to the Chinese to the Egyptians have used masks in some form, whether it was for ritual, hunting, theater, or any other number of purposes. It really piqued my interest to put these pieces next to one another and see so many differences and yet so many similarities in the world’s cultures. WHERE DO YOU DISPLAY THE MASKS? ARE THEY A PART OF YOUR DECOR? I have many of them hanging on the walls of my downtown condo in Hot Springs. We also get to use a number of the Venetian and carnival-style masks each year at the Baron’s Ball, which is a masquerade ball in Hot Springs that benefits the Levi Hospital.
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