Masks serve an important role in rituals or ceremonies with varied purposes like ensuring a good harvest, addressing tribal needs in time of peace or war, or conveying spiritual presences in initiation rituals or burial ceremonies. Some masks represent the spirits of deceased ancestors.
What were African masks used for?
Africa possesses a long tradition of masking and it is believed that masks were integral to their culture long before the first century B.C. The wide variety of uses for masks, which included rituals of myth, creation, and hero worship, as well as fertility rituals for increase, agricultural festivities, funerals or …
What do African masks symbolize?
African masks often represent a spirit and it is strongly believed that the spirit of the ancestors possesses the wearer. Ritual ceremonies generally depict deities, spirits of ancestors, mythological beings, good and or evil, the dead, animal spirits, and other beings believed to have power over humanity.
Who wears African masks?
In many cultures, masks are an important part of traditional rituals. For thousands of years, African peoples have used masks in ceremonies. Every African mask is unique. In many African groups, masks are worn by dancers.
Where did African masks originated from?
Almost all peoples have used masks to disguise themselves. Prehistoric rock paintings suggest that masking may have been part of magico-religious ceremonies. An image of an African mask first appeared in the central Sahara thousands of years ago.
How can you tell if an African mask is real?
An up-close look of the back of the mask. I decided to Google to find out how to determine authenticity.
Holes on masks are used to attach the rest of the ceremonial dress.
- Check the back of the mask for wear, including the holes for fastening the mask on the face. …
- Look for wear from forehead, cheeks, chins and noses.
Why are African masks scary?
Masks representing harmful spirits were often used to keep a required balance of power. … Masks have also be used to discipline women, children, and criminals. For example, in Africa, a mother might paint a scary face on the bottom of a water gourd to make sure the child followed her directions.
What countries still use traditional African masks?
- Bwa, Mossi and Nuna of Burkina Faso.
- Dan of Liberia and Ivory Coast.
- Dogon and Bamana of Mali.
- Fang (Punu) and Kota of Gabon.
- Yorubo, Nubo, Igbo and Edo of Nigeria.
- Senufo and Grebo, Baule (Guro) and Ligbi (Koulango) of Ivory Coast.
- Temne, Gola and Sande (Sowei) of Sierra Leone.
- Bambara of Mali.
What are traditional African colors?
“In European art, color is generally understood in terms of the primary colors red, yellow and blue,” says Karen Milbourne, the BMA’s curator of African art. “But throughout much of Africa, the primary colors are red, white and black.
What are three different forms of African masks?
Common types of African masks include face masks, which fit over the front of the wearer’s face; helmet masks, which fit over the entire head; and forehead masks, which work like hats that sit horizontally on top of the head with the wearer’s face covered by fabric.
Do African masks have spirits?
While most African tribal masks represent spirits and ancestors, the Dan masks are the spirits themselves. The masks have a characteristic concave face which ends with a pointed chin, a high domed forehead, and big pouty lips. The masks are carved out of wood and are often dyed to give a rich brown colour.
What cultures use masks?
10 Fascinating Cultural Masks from Around the World
- Venetian Carnival Masks. Worn during Carnival in Venice, these world-famous masks date back to the 13th century. …
- Mexican Day of the Dead Masks. …
- Chinese New Year Masks. …
- Brazilian Carnival Masks. …
- Filipino Dinagyang Masks. …
- African Festima Masks. …
- Bahamian Junkanoo Masks. …
- Austrian Krampusnacht Festival Masks.
Why were African masks intentionally unrealistic?
The main artistic products of tropical Africa were wood carvings, both masks and sculpture-in-the-round. … Masks were intentionally unrealistic: when confronting a supernatural power, the idea was for the performer to conceal his true identity behind this artificial face.
Are African masks still used today?
In contemporary Africa, masks are no longer as commonly used for tribal ceremonies though they still represent one of the continent’s most vibrant contributions to the arts.
Where did masks originate from?
In China, masks are thought to have originated in ancient religious ceremonies. Images of people wearing masks have been found in rock paintings along the Yangtze. Later mask forms brings together myths and symbols from shamanism and Buddhism.
Who made the first mask?
Wu Lien-teh on what would have been his 142nd birthday. Wu invented the surgical face mask, considered the precursor to the N95 mask in response to the Manchurian Plague, which spread in northwestern China in 1910, according to a biography on Google’s website.