African Mask

Written by Ian Bracegirdle

Continued from page 1

Guinea-Bissau Republic of Guinea Sierra Leone Mali Liberia Ivory Coast Upper Volta Ghana Nigeria Cameroon

Within each of these countries can be found ancient traditions associated with individual tribes displaying common links. The areas associated with some groups cross boundaries. The names ofrepparttar different tribes is too extensive to list atrepparttar 116080 moment.

Equatorial Africa

Congo Zaire Zambia

Similar themes and traditions are found withrepparttar 116081 masks from this area when compared with those ofrepparttar 116082 Western countries. Inrepparttar 116083 early Fifteenth Centuryrepparttar 116084 well established Kongo people had close contact withrepparttar 116085 Portuguese and later some converted to Christianity. This has had some influence onrepparttar 116086 type of festivities and masks. The Kongo dominated various tribes inrepparttar 116087 area of theserepparttar 116088 Woyo and Yombe produced notable mask The Ndunga masks ofrepparttar 116089 Woyo were larger than life size and had projecting foreheads large cheeks with small eyes,repparttar 116090 surface of these faces was painted with white or brightly coloured asymmetrical designs.

The Western Pende onrepparttar 116091 Kwilu River in Zaire have two major types of mask. The Minhajl, which representrepparttar 116092 ancestors andrepparttar 116093 Mbuya which represent various village characters such asrepparttar 116094 fool,repparttar 116095 prostitute,repparttar 116096 chief etc. These masks are used inrepparttar 116097 reinforcement of social control. The amusing performances are brightened byrepparttar 116098 triangular faces ofrepparttar 116099 masks with bulging eyes, open mouths containing carved teeth painted in a variety of colours. The more powerful Minganji masks are simpler circular forms made from raffia with tubular eyes and no other features. Allrepparttar 116100 masks are constructed in secret away fromrepparttar 116101 village.

Inrepparttar 116102 Makenda circumcision ceremonyrepparttar 116103 Mbuya appear from out ofrepparttar 116104 bush and dance inrepparttar 116105 village square until dusk. Asrepparttar 116106 sky darkens, Minganji, masked dancers, materialise and move aroundrepparttar 116107 village at a distance, helping to developrepparttar 116108 sense of awe and unease. Inrepparttar 116109 secret circumcision camprepparttar 116110 initiated youths are allowed to handlerepparttar 116111 mask as they are now fully fledged members ofrepparttar 116112 society.

Many other styles are found in these areas.

East Africa

Tanzania and Mozambique are both home torepparttar 116113 Mekonde one ofrepparttar 116114 best know tribe of mask makers in East Africa. The Mekonde masks come in various styles,repparttar 116115 southern groups usingrepparttar 116116 helmet type. The features of these masks are often realistic and are worn with a cloth coveringrepparttar 116117 head ofrepparttar 116118 dancer. Scarification is used. The characters represented are familiar torepparttar 116119 local people:-repparttar 116120 old man,repparttar 116121 doctor,repparttar 116122 young woman andrepparttar 116123 Arab, some animal masks are found.

Over view

It must be noted thatrepparttar 116124 masks of Africa represent a wealth of forms and designs which have been well collected and catalogued. The total range is by no means represented here. The common connections betweenrepparttar 116125 masks andrepparttar 116126 different groups are obviously strong.

Would you like regular updates onrepparttar 116127 Masking World?

Ian Bracegirdle 2004 1 Elderberry Close East Morton BD20 5WA UK 01535 692207 You may use this article freely on condition that you include this copyright line and URL and that people who subsequently use this article followrepparttar 116128 same conditions. Thank you for accepting these conditions.

Teacher, Course Leader, Mask Enthusiast and Collector.

The Masked Fool

Written by Ian Bracegirdle

Continued from page 1

To be honest I loverepparttar fool, because I feel I am one, at times. The fool embodiesrepparttar 116079 contradictions ofrepparttar 116080 world. He accepts our human frailties and simultaneously challenges them. For those of you who knowrepparttar 116081 symbols onrepparttar 116082 tarot cards considerrepparttar 116083 fool, for those of you who do not make some time to find out.

Some Examples of Fools in Masquerade Italy In Masksrepparttar 116084 Art of expression Cesare Poppi describesrepparttar 116085 Carnival at Moena inrepparttar 116086 Italian Dolomites. Two Arlechign, a local version of Harlequin, leadrepparttar 116087 masked group. They are dressed in chequered costumes, with a tall pointed cap below which is a loose veil giving them a featureless appearance. They carry horse whips. Around themrepparttar 116088 crowd of cheering young boys follows their moves. Suddenlyrepparttar 116089 dash intorepparttar 116090 youths slashing fiercely withrepparttar 116091 horse whips, striking vicious blows torepparttar 116092 confused youngsters. Panic ensues. A pleasing village scene has suddenly been turned upon its head.

China In China, or your local China Town, whenrepparttar 116093 New Year is celebratedrepparttar 116094 Lion Dance is performed. This often acrobatic masked dance is performed by, usually two dancers accompanied by two Happy Face dancers wearing their papier mache masks complete with large grins painted on them. Asrepparttar 116095 dance progresses throughrepparttar 116096 streetsrepparttar 116097 dragon collects lettuces and money to help bring luck in torepparttar 116098 New Year. Aroundrepparttar 116099 dragonrepparttar 116100 two fools pesterrepparttar 116101 crowd for money and simultaneously keeprepparttar 116102 crowd, especiallyrepparttar 116103 children, at a safe distance.

Pacific West Coast


During Kwakwaka'wakw Potlatch ceremonies inrepparttar 116104 West Coast Areas of Canada another fool prowled around. He is Noohlmahl. A filthy creature with a long nose from which snot streams he is up for a laugh but shouldrepparttar 116105 watchers mention his state, especially his nose, a violent reaction can be expected.

Iriquois False Face Society

The Iriquois False Face Society also have a fool mask to supportrepparttar 116106 processes of healing that they undertake. These corn husk mask are relatively simple and disposable. As with other traditionsrepparttar 116107 fool plays his amusing and organising role.

Playfulness has a major place in many masquerades.

In our lives we all playrepparttar 116108 fool, despiserepparttar 116109 fool in others and loverepparttar 116110 fool who entertains. Sadlyrepparttar 116111 fool who entertains can also be torn apart by internal mental divisions.

The masked fool isrepparttar 116112 one who maintains order and atrepparttar 116113 same time questions it and sometimes on a whim destroys it. Traditionallyrepparttar 116114 fool treads a fine line betweenrepparttar 116115 known andrepparttar 116116 unknown,repparttar 116117 acceptable andrepparttar 116118 unacceptable. Even withoutrepparttar 116119 mask I am sure you recogniserepparttar 116120 fool in your life.

The fool is a universal being. Today (15/12/04) I lost my fool, she was our cat. If you wish to know she died of old age. She hadrepparttar 116121 soft luxury of a purring fur to stroke and in a moment she transformed into a fanged biter. She hadrepparttar 116122 gourmet taste of a French chef yet licked her own arse. She refused to go outside whenrepparttar 116123 wind blew, because it was cold, yet sat happily onrepparttar 116124 wet grass when it was raining and blowing a gale. Tango,repparttar 116125 cat, was my fool, just as I was hers when playing hide and seek. I loved her affection and was saddened by her rejection ofrepparttar 116126 food I gave her. All in all Tango, our family cat, was all contradiction and beautifully herself. She is a very missed little being.


Cecil Sharp collected folk sings inrepparttar 116127 British Isles. Amongst folk enthusiasts he is something of a hero as he preserved may folk songs and traditions. He was instumental in helping preserverepparttar 116128 hundreds of different Morris dances. Yet as withrepparttar 116129 song lyrics he collected they were purged for naughty bits. Anything that went against his strict Victorian morality was censored. The whole of British folk tradition was made "nice".

Inspired by Masksrepparttar 116130 Art of Expression ed. John Mack ISBN 0-7141-2530-X and other sources that I have read and internalised long ago.

Ian Bracegirdle 2004 You may use this article freely on condition that you include this copyright line and URL and that people who subsequently use this article followrepparttar 116131 same conditions. Thank you for accepting these conditions.

Teacher, Course Leader, Mask enthusiast and collector

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