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African mask cultures - Research Paper Example

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In Africa,masks can be traced back to well past Paleolithic times.These art objects were,and are still made of various materials,included are leather,metal,fabric and various types of wood.African masks are considered amongst the finest creations in the art world …
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Download file to see previous pages In Africa masks can be traced back to well past Paleolithic times. These art objects were, and are still made of various materials, included are leather, metal, fabric and various types of wood. African masks are considered amongst the finest creations in the art world and are highly sought after by art collectors. d) Ancestry has more influence in African culture than in any other culture. They honor their ancestors in all possible means because of their belief that ancestors can do many things in their life. Masks are recognized as the symbol of communication between an ancestor spirit and a human. Masks are also associated with celebrations, crop harvesting traditions, war preparations, peace and trouble times, rituals and customs of many of the African cultures. Because of the differences in belief, the meaning of mask wearing is different among different cultures in Africa. Ritual dances are common among many of the African cultures, and masks are important in all such ritual dances. Each mask represents a particular spirit. It is believed by the African people that a person wearing a particular mask loses his identity temporarily and becomes the spirit represented by the mask itself. Even though mask wearing is mainly seen in African countries, the influence of African mask wearing custom has been spread to some other regions as well. Cubism, fauvism, and expressionism are some of the artistic movements which used the themes of African mask culture effectively. Moreover, in American and European art cultures also, the influence of African mask culture is visible. This paper briefly analyses the African mask cultures. (Pictures / photos / images of some MASKS and headdresses, 2010) “Ritual ceremonies generally depict deities, spirits of ancestors, mythological beings, good and or evil, the dead, animal spirits, and other beings believed to have power over humanity”(African Masks History and Meaning, n. d). Perhaps, Africa is the worst affected region in this world as far as beliefs in superstitions are concerned. Even after huge advancements in science and technologies, many of the Africans have still many superstitions. They do believe that the spirit of their ancestors or and even the spirit of the animals can influence their life very much. They are of the view that their life is shaped by these spirits and it is their duty to respect, recognize and worship these spirits to lead their lives in prosperity. Masks of ancestors are often considered as the most valuable thing in a family and they keep it as a monument. During the mask ceremony the dancer goes into deep trance, and during this state of mind he "communicate" with his ancestors. A wise man or translator sometimes accompanies the wearer of the mask during the ritual. The dancer brings forth messages of wisdom from his ancestors. Often the messages are grunted utterances and the translator will accurately decipher the meaning of the message. Rituals and ceremonies are always accompanied with song, dance and music, played with traditional African musical instruments (African Masks History and Meaning, n. d). Ritual dances performed with the help of masks are often believed as the occasion to communicate with the ancestors. The dancer who wears the mask of a particular ancestor claims that he is able to communicate with the spirit represented by the mask. He may speak lot of things at the time of dance which may be perceived as the messages of that particular spirit to African community. The dancer mostly speaks in different languages which may not be understandable to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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