African masks have been made by many cultures on the African continent for thousands of years. They are objects with deep religious or symbolic meaning, often related specifically to their creators and the cultures from which they come. Some masks might represent deceased ancestors or powerful spirits.
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.
Do African masks have spirits?
While most African tribal masks represent spirits and ancestors, the Dan masks are the spirits themselves.
What stories do African masks tell?
Some represent the spirit of animals, others depict aspects of the spirit realm. Many represent the spirits of ancestors. Masks can be used to tell of secret societies, of rituals and knowledge passed from one generation to the next.
What are the identifying features of African masks?
Characteristics of African Masks
Most patterns tend to be geometrical and symmetrical and are presented as a form of coded information. Parallel, zigzag, cruciform, curved and spiral lines, representing scarification marks or tattoos, are frequently used to adorn the planes of the mask face.
What purpose did masks serve in African art?
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 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 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.
Who wears African masks?
Picasso was hardly alone in his passion for African masks. The list of artists who collected African masks reads like a who’s who of the heavyweights of the art world in the early 20th century. They include Paul Klee, Henri Matisse, Man Ray, Jackson Pollock and Edvard Munch.
What are 4 forms that are used to create an African mask?
SHAPE: African masks take on many forms. They can be oval, circular, rectangular, elongated or animal, human or a combination.
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.
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.
What does the mask represent?
Masks usually represent supernatural beings, ancestors, and fanciful or imagined figures, and they can also be portraits. The localization of a particular spirit in a specific mask must be considered a highly significant reason for its existence.
Why are African masks so important?
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 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 do colors mean in Africa?
Red: the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation; Black: for the people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag; Green: the abundant and vibrant natural wealth of Africa, the Motherland.