It is believed that the earliest masks were used in Africa before Paleolithic era. They represent spirits of animals or ancestors, mythological heroes, moral values or a form of honoring of a person in a symbolic way. They are made from wood, pottery, textiles, copper and bronze.
What are African masks made of?
The most commonly used material for masks is wood, although a wide variety of other elements can be used, including light stone such as steatite, metals such as copper or bronze, different types of fabric, pottery, and more. Some masks are painted (for example using ochre or other natural colorants).
Why are African masks created?
For thousands of years, African people have incorporated tribal masks into their cultural ceremonies, rituals, and celebrations. … It is thought that when a person (often a man) wears a mask, he becomes a sort of medium, capable of communicating with spirits and ancestors on behalf of the community.
How are African masks created?
African masks are worn in three ways:
A mask used for spiritual purposes can often only be worn once and then thrown away or burned, once its function has been performed. … African masks are primarily carved from wood but can also be made of terracotta, glazed pottery, bronze, brass, copper, ivory or leather.
What are three types of masks created in Africa?
The three types are face masks, helmet masks, and body and belly masks. Face masks are commonly used today as products used to make the face more healthy. Helmet masks are fit over the head and are often carved from a tree trunk.
What are masks usually made out of?
A cloth face mask is a mask made of common textiles, usually cotton, worn over the mouth and nose.
|Cloth face mask|
|Other names||Fabric mask|
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 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.
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.
What are African masks called?
Masquerades (African Masks)
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.
How many African masks are there?
You may think a mask just covers the front of your face. But among African cultures that make masks, there are six basic mask forms.
Where did masks come 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.
What does a mask symbolize?
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.
What are the key features of an African mask?
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.
Do all African masks represent good spirits?
Every Dan masks is sacred. While most African tribal masks represent spirits and ancestors, the Dan masks are the spirits themselves.