The Masks and the Choices for You

Depending on the country or continent, imported items for tourists are sentimental, but it happens that in the country of their production they have a special symbolism, important for indigenous tribes. One of such souvenirs is ceremonial African masks. You can visit for the best usage now.

Original African masks meaning ritual

Real masks are not intended for trade, but they are used in ritual ceremonies, tribal festivals, or when connecting with the spirits of the ancestors. The material itself is the basis, while animal masks, feathers, sometimes animal bones, horns, shells and other natural materials are used to decorate the mask. Such masks cannot be regarded as ornaments, they have hidden messages and are used only in appropriate circumstances. They are not kept in public places, but are well protected by the shaman and used during special ceremonies.

African art for tourist use

African masks, produced for tourists, are usually replicas of real cult objects used by African tribes, unlike ritual masks, they have no power – they are unique and wonderful handcrafted products of African craftsmen. These masks do not pose any danger from the “unclean powers”, they are treated as exotic handicrafts. The material used for their production is usually wood, and decorations are made using natural paint, henna, exotic feathers, beads or seashells.

Types of masks

Thanks to the variety of masks, you can get to know the culture of a given tribe, because in each different type of ornaments are used; one can distinguish helmet and face masks here. They are characterized by the differentness of putting on helmet masks cover the whole head or head to the half of the face, face masks are held in front of the face or put on it. African masks depict the faces of people, heads or animal faces, other types of masks are caricature features of the face of supernatural beings or phantoms.

Craftsmen engaged in the production of masks are – in the case of ritual masks, specially selected artists, generally respected by tribesmen, while in the case of masks for tourists – the production is performed by talented craftsmen. Souvenirs in the style of exotic handicrafts are extremely beautiful objects that you can successfully decorate your home.

African masks are fascinating not only for tourists, but also for Africans themselves. We can say that the masks speak a lot about African culture. They are mainly used during important rituals and ceremonies. However, the first African masks appeared before the era. They represented the souls of animals, ancestors, and mythological heroes, and were used mainly to honor dead people in a very symbolic way.

The materials used to make the masks are primarily wood, ceramics, fabrics, copper and bronze. In addition to the basic materials to perform various details of the mask, as well as its finishing, animal teeth, hair , bones and horns are used, as well as feathers, shells and even straw.

Not every African inhabitant can create masks. People who produce them have a very high position in the village. This is due to the fact that they are considered as intermediaries between the worlds of the living and the dead. Making masks is an art in itself, which is additionally passed on in the family from generation to generation. In addition, special knowledge and skills are needed.