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African Masks

Interesting African Masks Facts


African mask are generally made to be used. This African art is usually made to be used
in various ceremonies and social events such as weddings and funerals.
Mask usually have a spiritual meaning or connection.
The artists who create mask are given a special status.
The mask making skill and knowledge of the spiritual meanings held by masks are
passed down from father to son.
Mask are usually designed to appear human or animal or a combination of the two.
Mask are often decorated with such things as animal hair or straw (for hair and
beards), animal horns, animal teeth, feathers, and sea shells.
Not everyone in a tribe has the honor of wearing a mask; it is usually only a select few
in the tribe. Often only men and sometimes only elders are given this honor.
It is generally believed that the individual who wears the mask transforms into a spirit.
This transformation usually takes place during some type of ritual. This can allow for
communication between humans and spirits.
African mask often represent the cultural values of the tribe. For example In Gabon
large mouths and chins represent strength and authority.
Mask are usually made out of wood. Other materials that are used include metals
(especially bronze and copper), light stone, fabric, and pottery.

African Masks Assignment


1. Sketchbook:
-Practice drawing an African
inspired patterned mask.
2. Final Draft Requirements:
-In pencil, draw a large African
Mask.
-Draw patterns inside the mask.
-Draw a pattern in the background.
-Color the entire mask and
background SOLID.
-Colors are free choice.
3. Write your name on your
artwork!
4. Try your best! Show
craftsmanship!

Information on African Mask Types


African masks can be classified into the following basic types:
Face mask - are the most common mask type. They are used throughout
Africa. They can be secured to the face in several ways. These methods
include with a band or string put through holes on each side of the mask, held
on by a wig, or secured by a scarf.
Headdress masks - are actually are set on a base which sits on top of the
wearers head. The Bambara (Bamana), who are the largest ethnic group in
Mali, are famous for this type of mask.
Shoulder masks - are usually large and heavy and rest on the wearer's
shoulders.
Helmet masks - fit over the wearer's entire head and are usually carved from
a section of tree trunk.
Helmet crests - Unlike the helmet masks these mask do not fit over the
wearer's entire head but rather is worn like a hat, leaving the face exposed.
Cap crests (forehead masks) - This type of mask is worn on the forehead
leaving the wearer's face exposed.

African Masks Facts 1: Wear It

African Masks

Most African masks are created to wear by people. They are often used in events and ceremonies. You can see
the old tribes in Africa wearing the mask in the funeral or wedding. However, you can visit Africa and use
masks as a part of a home dcor. You can place them as a wall hanging.
African Masks Facts 2: Meaning
The meaning of the African mask is always associated with spiritual connection and meaning.
African Masks Facts 3: A Special Status
Not all people can create the African mask. The people who can make it well usually have special status in the
African society.
African Masks Facts 4: Generation to Generation
Making the African mask requires knowledge and skill. The gift usually is passed from generation to
generation.
African Masks Facts 5: Shape Of African Mask
The shape for African mask is very unique. It usually reflects the face of animal or human beings. But you can
also see the mask resemble combination of both features.
Most masks worn by the people can represent the cultural value for a certain tribe. Let me give you an example
with the mask from Gabon. It has a large month and chins. They resemble the authority and strength.

African Masks Continued


African Masks Facts 6: Decoration
The African mask is not bare. You can see the mask decorated with various things much
as straws that you can see as the beard or head. It also features the feather, animal
teeth, animal horns and sea shells
African Masks Facts 7: Honor
Wearing a mask is considered as an honor in various African tribes. Not all of members in
the African tribes can wear the mask. The elder and only few men can wear it.
African Masks Facts 8: Transformation
Wearing a mask is included as a series of transformation. It enables the people to enjoy
the ritual sense since they are capable for communicating with spirits.
African Masks Facts 9: Material
The material used to create the African mask is wood. But sometimes people incorporate
it with fabric, light stone, bronze, pottery or even copper.
African Masks Facts 10: Painted
To make the African mask look artistic, you can see it painted in various color. Most
masks worn by the people can represent the cultural value for a certain tribe. Let me give
you an example with the mask from Gabon. It has a large month and chins. They
resemble the authority and strength.

Resources
Google Images: African Masks
http://www.myinterestingfacts.com/african-masks-facts/
http://interesting-africa-facts.com/African-Art/African-MasksInformation.html