Emotions are basically an essential part of our day to day living. They are the major motivating force that dictates our actions in particular situations like for example when we are happy, we tend to do good things. On the other hand, we usually express anger on others when we are not feeling good inside. Additionally, emotions are seen not just with our actions but also with our facial expressions.
Our facial expressions can be considered as natural mask of our face. In the same way, masks are items crafted to suit our countenances with an expression. Each of these types of masks has their specific purpose. Some face coverings are designed to scare people whereas others are made to astound us!
Masks have had a extensive history and they were used in nearly all culture and tribes. One of the oldest and finest masks artisans are Africans. In fact, art collectors of today highly value these masks because of its intricate craftsmanship and symbolism. African masks play a crucial role in their traditions and practices. They are actually a symbol of family pride. History states that Africans are devoted to their ancestors and the power they possess. Consequently, they produce these art pieces with the thought that spirits of their dead ancestors dwell in it providing them courage in difficult times like war and drought.
African masks have many important functions. They are worn on ceremonies, crop harvesting, war preparation, peace times and trouble times. Usually in their ceremonies, Africans would start to dance after the mask is worn because of the belief that they would attain a state of mind purposely, to “communicate” with their ancestors. Then constant messages would be spoken by the dancer which they see as a divine inspiration coming from his ancestors.
Likewise, African masks are created using different organic materials such as fabric, leather, metal and even wood. These materials are of very good quality and have enduring features- a key elements in a good product.