African Masks

An Adventure Through African Culture

African Mask Background History

A mask is something that is worn on the face. They can be worn for protection, disguise, or entertainment. African masks have been used for religious ceremonies and social events. Masks are used to represent spirits of ancestors and also to control the good and evil powers in a village. African masks mainly represent humans. There are many different materials that African masks are made out of. Wood, many metals, raffia, textiles and pottery are all materials used in making African masks. They are also decorated with beads and animal skins.


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African Mask Styilization

Two main things influence an African mask's style: the traditional, historic style, and the vision of the carver. Carvers create masks focusing on what they think is the most important element in the mask. African carvers focus a lot on texture and shape, which are both elements of art. Texture is definitely an important element in African masks. In all of the masks I have looked at, they include many unique textures that make you want to touch the masks. Shape also helps define the masks. It helps you envision what the mask represents and what it could be used for. The details on a mask vary from mask to mask. Some are simple, while others are very intricate. Most of the masks don't have many colors. This is because they are made out of metal, and therefore it is hard to make them colorful.


My Opinion

I find African masks very interesting to look at. I like how they combine animal and human characteristics into one mask. I like looking at all the different materials that African masks make use of. It's amazing how many textures are used for each and every mask. The mask shapes are also very interesting as all are unique. African masks are quite amazing!