Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

MASKS. A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "MASKS. A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity."— Presentation transcript:


2 A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes. They are usually worn on the face, although they may also be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer's body, so in parts of Australia giant totem masks cover the body, whilst Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing. ( performanceentertainment ceremonialpracticalAustraliatotem

3 While it is perfectly fine to enjoy masks from many cultures as rich, colorful works of art, one can gain a deeper understanding by considering how masks are used in a particular culture and the meanings that the tradition-bearers bring to them. In general, masks have two important social functions: (1)they provide a disguise for the wearer and (2) they allow the wearer to assume the identity, at least temporarily, of some other person or being.. (

4 The individual vision of the mask designer also greatly influences the style of the mask. African tribal artists do not try to create a perfect representation of their subject. Although some realistic portraits are made, others celebrate more abstract qualities like nobility, beauty, courage, mischief and humor. They create an idealized version, emphasizing those elements that they consider most important

5 Texture: Skilled craftsmanship, fine detail and quality of finish are of great importance to the African tribal artist. Highly polished surfaces which represent a youthful healthy skin reflect the idea of beauty and virtue, while rough dirty surfaces suggest fear and evil. Many African carvings portray the idealized human figure in its prime, brimming with health, strength, and celebrating fertility or virility.

6 Shape and Color: African masks take on many forms. They can be oval, circular, rectangular, elongated, heart-shaped, animal or human, or any combination of these. Shapes and Colors of African masks are tribe specific, thus they are used as parameters to locate the mask’s origin. In ethnic art the colour was always vegetable, sometimes mixed with sacrificial blood or some magical substance. It was applied to the mask during special rituals in order to ensure its magical power. A wax substance was often added to the colour to achieve, after some rubbing, a glossy finish. Some tribes utilized the ‘mud bath’ or burning technique to apply black color to the masks. In different tribes different colours have different meaning. Kaolin, white colour, can be a symbol of death, spirit or daylight but also good fortune. Charcoal, black, symbolizes evil. Ochre, red – is used to mark a celebration of life. Yellow ochre and blue lye are also used.


8 SPAIN Devil masks such as this are worn during la Diablada, a masked dance performed in the Oruro region of Bolivia. Originally, the dance was meant to appease the Supay, or evil spirit in the mines. After Spanish contact, it developed an additional meaning of good versus evil in the Christian context of the battle between Lucifer and the Archangel Michael.

9 PAPUA NEW GUINEA Crocodiles are an important part of the culture and landscape in this region, as can be seen by the crocodile tongue protruding from the mask mouth.

10 TIBET In Tibet, there are generally two types of masks. One type is used and worn in plays and dances.

11 IVORY Masks and masquerading are important to the Dan, who live in Liberia and the Ivory Coast. They believe that a mask has a spirit of its own. Some are believed to hold the power to serve as a type of social control, whereas others are used in skits, singing, and proverb telling. This mask presents the idealized and stylized human features characteristic of most Dan masks.

12 AFRICA The transition from childhood to adulthood is important to many African groups and is often marked by complex initiation rituals. This type of mask is used in the Bamana N'Tomo society

13 FALSE FACE MASK Because they represent the spirit that appears to each individual in dreams, there are many types of False Face masks. However, there are some common features. These shared features include deep-set eyes that often have metal plates; deep, arched eyebrows; large noses that are often bent; a wig, usually made of long, black horsetail hair; and a contorted mouth. The shape of the mouth varies depending on the function and mood. The Protruding Tongue mask portrays pain. Traditional masks are carved on a living basswood tree. If the tree was chosen in the morning, the mask was painted red. If the tree was selected in the afternoon, the mask was painted black. This goes back to the first False Face's daily journey following the path of the sun.


15 Animals are believed to represent links between the human and the spiritual worlds. No Guro mask is without hidden messages and spiritual importance. The tribal life is mostly regulated by the Je society. This male secret society is responsible for the social, administrative and judicial organization of the tribe. It is responsible for making decisions and for protecting the members of the tribe.




19 TORRES STRAIT ISLAND Turtle-shell masks in the western Torres Strait reportedly were used during funerary ceremonies and increase rites (rituals designed to ensure bountiful harvests and an abundance of fish and game).

20 The top of the headdress features the horns of an antelope, the body of a serpent, and the tail of a chameleon.

21 Animal masks, known as ekuk, are used during ceremonies of the beete cult, a social association among the Kwele peoples. This bata or ram mask is distinguished by the curving horns that gently frame the face. The mask is relatively flat, with slight changes in plane clearly delineated by variations in color. The face, simplified to a heart-shaped form in the center of the mask, is highlighted in white. This delicate depiction of the face is a common feature in masks of the Kwele and other related ethnic groups in the surrounding equatorial forest region. The diverse repertoire of ekuk masks from beete ceremonies includes representations of the ram (bata) as seen here, the fierce gorilla (gon), and the swallow, among others.

22 MALI Dogon masks such as this sim mask are worn primarily at commemorative rituals for Dogon men. The face of the sim mask is typical of many Dogon wooden masks. A rectangular box with an arched forehead, it has two deeply hollowed channels in front. The edges of the box extend upward at the top, forming small "ears." A pierced, diamond-shaped section links the mask with its tall superstructure, which is lashed to it with strips of hide. The mask's face is said to represent an antelope, while the top depicts a tall, thin spirit in human form whose body is constantly swaying. This sim mask is unusual in that the vertical elements attached to the ends of the lower crossbar point downward; in most examples they point upward like those on the crossbar above. The choreography of the sim mask's movements is among the most strenuous of Dogon dances, requiring the performer to swing the mask around the axis of his body, and to beat the ground with the tip of the superstructure.

23 MEXICO At markets throughout Mexico you’ll find masks in the folk art tradition which combine human and animal features: jaguars, birds, bats and alligators.

24 CHARACTERISTICS Mask Characteristics High arched eyebrowsBeauty Narrow chinBeauty Eyes half-shutPeaceful Small eyesHumility and humbleness Small MouthHumility and humbleness Really long facesSoberness of duty that comes with power Round eyesAlertness and anger Bulging foreheadWisdom

25 COLOR Color Meanings RedLove and beauty, excitement, energy, blood, war, aggression BluePeace, tranquility, cold, calm, faith, heavens, and oceans OrangeEnergy, balance, vibrant, excitement, adventure YellowJoy, happiness, gold, sunshine BlackPower, sophistication, fear, evil, mystery, sadness GreenNature, health, good luck, spring, jealousy, inexperience, PurpleRoyalty, spirituality, wisdom, enlightenment BrownEarth, stability, hearth, home, comfort WhitePurity, simplicity, youth, winter, cold, good


Download ppt "MASKS. A mask is an object normally worn on the face, typically for protection, disguise, performance or entertainment. Masks have been used since antiquity."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google