Quite often, African masks function in religious and social events to represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. They come to life, possessed by spirits in the performance of dance, and are enhanced by both the music and atmosphere of the occasion.
What are the characteristics of African masks?
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.
What are the functions of African masks?
Masks serve an important role in rituals or ceremonies with varied purposes like ensuring a good harvest, addressing tribal needs in time of peace or war, or conveying spiritual presences in initiation rituals or burial ceremonies. Some masks represent the spirits of deceased ancestors.
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.