2. 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.
What do different African masks represent?
Some masks represent the spirits of deceased ancestors. Others symbolize totem animals, creatures important to a certain family or group. In some cultures, like the Kuba culture of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, masks represent specific figures in tribal mythology, like a king or a rival to the ruler.
Do masks have the same meaning in all African cultures?
While the specific implications associated with ritual masks widely vary in different cultures, some traits are common to most African cultures. For instance, masks usually have a spiritual and religious meaning, and they are used in ritual dances, social and religious events.
What makes African masks unique?
African masks themselves are some of the most fascinating works in all of human history. They represent a humanistic searching for the world of spirits, yet each tribe shares unique distinctive qualities. The majority of African masks are wood, and mask usage is clearly tied to areas where wood is available.
What stories do African masks tell?
Although Africa is a huge region, masks are worn and used in village ceremonies throughout the continent. Masks often represent departed ancestors, spirit beings, and invisible powers. Mask features can be human, animal, or combine elements and features from the human, animal, and spirit worlds.
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.
How can you tell if an African mask is real?
Look for wear from forehead, cheeks, chins and noses. The mask should look like it’s been handled. 3. Smell the mask for the hint of smoke odor that may have come from a mask being used near ritual fires or stored in houses heated by wood.
What cultures use masks?
They were also widely used among Oceanic peoples of the South Pacific and among American Indians. Masks have served an important role as a means of discipline and have been used to admonish. Common in China, Africa, Oceania, and North America, admonitory masks usually completely cover the features of the wearer.
What purpose did masks serve in African art?
Tribal masks are used to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the forces of good and evil.
What countries still use 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.
Can African masks bring bad luck?
In fact, not all masks have negative energy. … There are different types of masks – good spirits, spirits of the prophets, and evil spirits. So it’s very dangerous to hold such masks at home if you do not know what energy is invested in them.
What does an African mask look like?
There are several types of African masks, including those that cover the face; helmet masks that fit over the entire head like a large helmet; and masks that are like crests on top of the head, leaving the wearer’s face visible. African masks are made of many different designs. Some are shaped like human faces.
Are African masks only made of wood?
Masks are primarily carved from one piece of wood. Most masks in existence are no more than 100 years old because wood doesn’t last very long. The wood would come from local forests and is usually cut down with an adze, a cutting tool with a think arched blade, kind of like an ax. This was the carver’s main tool.