Saturday, July 27, 2019

African Masks - Made For Rituals and Ceremonies

African masks are among the best pieces in the world of art and are highly sought after. They are typically carved out of wood, though some are made of fabric and other materials. They are occasionally beautified with beads and paint.
Most masks are made not to look like real faces. They are normally designed and made to provide somewhat of a shock value. They tend to convey different emotions such as sorrow, anger or mistrust.
They play different roles to the tribes across the continent. It can take a long time for a mask to be processed and completed. Once finished, it is preserved in a safe and sometimes sacred place, only to be brought out for important social occasions and ceremonies.
Masks were and still are worn during celebrations such as marriages, funerals, initiation ceremonies, and to entertain important visitors. African masks are usually worn by men, however in some cultures women also possess and perform in masks. One example will be during a ritual that initiates them into female society.
When it comes to wearing the masks, in addition to the way we know how to wear one, there are also other ways. They can be worn on the head as helmets covering the entire head or as a crest, resting on top of the head.
For those of us who watch the Discovery Channel,the more common use of the African mask we see involves ritual dancing. This involves the dancer wearing a mask and full costume. Frequently there is singing and music in these rites and the mask becomes a powerful spiritual force. During some of these dances, because of the force certain masks possess, some folks are not allowed to look at them.
A large part of African culture involved rituals and ceremonies. Nevertheless with education, development and influences from other civilizations, some cultures have lost many of their tribal beliefs, causing such ceremonies to be on the verge of extinction in Africa.

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