Carnival and Madi Gras Masks

Written by Ian Bracegirdle

Continued from page 1

Not Carnival masks butrepparttar foundation of traditions spreading throughoutrepparttar 116081 World.

I have covered a great deal in a very short space. And maybe bitten off more than I can realistically substantiate. Every time I read aboutrepparttar 116082 background to masking, asque and Masquerade I find that these factors stand out. The links betweenrepparttar 116083 traditions in all parts ofrepparttar 116084 world hold common elements. If we accept our common ancestry then it makes sense.

Simply it comes down to this. When you find that there are similar elements behindrepparttar 116085 masking traditions in Africa and North America then we have to accept that there is a common influence in play. (It could of course berepparttar 116086 interpretation ofrepparttar 116087 academics who have influenced my studies with their own agendas.) These same structures of; reverie of ancestors, links withrepparttar 116088 dead,repparttar 116089 seasons of harvest, growth and planting, fertility, good and evil all crop up time after time. In many cases they are linked further by some kind of Fool taking part inrepparttar 116090 enactment.

What really fascinates me is that these links are embedded in our modern cultures through masquerade, carnival and other traditions such as Halloween and Day ofrepparttar 116091 Dead celebrations.

Amazingly these European traditions, superstitions, and links to ancient practices, have passed into other cultures in South, Central and North America plus of courserepparttar 116092 Caribbean. How has this happened?

The European conquerors took their traditions of festivals torepparttar 116093 Americas. These festivals embodied elements ofrepparttar 116094 earlier pre Christian times. The settlers changedrepparttar 116095 local festivals to embody Christian elements. So that when today we view masquerade and Carnival it is possible to recogniserepparttar 116096 Mayan or Inca festivals on which they were based. Christian celebrations introduced byrepparttar 116097 Conquistadors and other settlers are a mixture of elements. Whenrepparttar 116098 addition ofrepparttar 116099 African influence is added torepparttar 116100 Carnival. An interesting picture can be seen.

Carnival masks are, in my opinion, related back torepparttar 116101 earliest of times.

For me it is a circle. A circle of belief based upom prehistoric understanding that underpin our fundamental nature as people. Our prehistoric mystical belief system fromrepparttar 116102 past are now amalgamated on all continents. Probably some people who participate in these festivals understand their true nature. Our present position is to use this understanding of our common ancestry to build a forward looking route torepparttar 116103 future. All this from looking at masks.

Your thoughts and feelings upon this would be most welcome.

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 116104 same conditions. Thank you for accepting these conditions.

Teacher, Course Leader, mask enthuisiast and collector.

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.

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