Carnival and Madi Gras Masks

Written by Ian Bracegirdle

Carnival Masks and Masquerade Masks Where didrepparttar use of Carnival masks and Masquerade masks begin?

The Venetian Carnival began over 900 years ago. It has run except for a gap ( from 1797 - 1987 ) and is replayed in its 18th century form today. Many other carnival masks and masquerade mask traditions can be traced back far into medieval times. The true roots came be traced back even further. Venice and other European masquerades arerepparttar 116081 precursors to modern Madi Gras and masquerade inrepparttar 116082 Americas. But again I ask where didrepparttar 116083 traditions of Carnival and carnival masks begin?

Take a trip back in time torepparttar 116084 Roman times. Around mid February there used to be a Festival called Lupercalia. It is described as a circus like festival. When Roman began to accept Christianityrepparttar 116085 pagan festivals were modified to become a part ofrepparttar 116086 Christian calendar. So here is a first link. Now I believe that if we go further back torepparttar 116087 Greeks we can find examples of big festivals andrepparttar 116088 same type of open air festivities associated with Carnival. Think of Bachus and celebrations of wine etc.

The first link then is thatrepparttar 116089 Christian Festivals are built uponrepparttar 116090 pre Christian ones.

The Egyptians beingrepparttar 116091 forerunners ofrepparttar 116092 Greeks also had their own large outdoor festivals. These must have influencedrepparttar 116093 Greek way of life. Now if we acceptrepparttar 116094 links between Egypt and Africa thenrepparttar 116095 initial influences probably came from tribes further South. See Grisso at his site for a view of Carnival and its origins

To take things back even further. It is generally accepted that our original ancestors came from Africa and spread gradually to take overrepparttar 116096 whole World. It is generally recognised that Africa isrepparttar 116097 home of diverse masking traditions. Whilst they may not seem to link directly to Carnival masks in style and structurerepparttar 116098 traditions behind them do link.

Strangelyrepparttar 116099 answer to my question seems to go back torepparttar 116100 pictures onrepparttar 116101 cave walls of Palaeolithic people. 25,000 years agorepparttar 116102 roots were established. The caves in Trois Feres in France revealrepparttar 116103 following;

A central figure stands wearingrepparttar 116104 head and antlers of a deer. He stands, shaman like, surround by animals. Animals that are important torepparttar 116105 culture he represents. Some ofrepparttar 116106 animals no longer exist in this area. Ibex, reindeer, bison, stag and horses. The shaman, for that is what he seems to be, stands, a human figure amongstrepparttar 116107 potential food. What magic he is creating or ancestors he is communicating with we do not know. Yet from our knowledge of tribal people studied in times closer to ours it is possible to understandrepparttar 116108 links. The need to hunt for food is essential to survival. The gods link all matters, stay in good standing withrepparttar 116109 gods and food will be available. Take only what can be used fairly and do not violaterepparttar 116110 natural laws. Life goes on, followingrepparttar 116111 seasons. There is a balance to life and death. The link between them is maintained byrepparttar 116112 magician, shaman, wizard, witch doctor, whatever you wish to call him.

African Mask

Written by Ian Bracegirdle

African Masks The following is a general over view of African Masks. If you are interested in collecting African mask from galleries or even primary sources we are going to establish some links which take you to places where masks are for sale. Stay withrepparttar site as it progresses andrepparttar 116080 links will be established to useful African Masks contacts.

Those of you who are thinking of a collecting trip to Africa may well findrepparttar 116081 following site useful. There are still places in Africa where genuine old masks can be bought, generally through dealers. Also watch out for fakes as they do abound. Remember buy things you like as investment can go up as well as down. If you like that carving or mask thenrepparttar 116082 value is not as important. The link is, seerepparttar 116083 Carvings page link.

The African masks of this area are well documented by Ladislas Segy in Masks of Black Africa. Much ofrepparttar 116084 following section on African Masks is influenced by his work.

The African masking traditions of this part ofrepparttar 116085 World are extremely fertile and varied. The traditions supportingrepparttar 116086 masks are generally associated withrepparttar 116087 spirits of ancestors, rites of passage, fertility and initiation ceremonies. Dance is generally involved inrepparttar 116088 use ofrepparttar 116089 masks. Segy listsrepparttar 116090 following types of ritual:-

Rituals of cosmology, myth and mythological heroes or animals Fertility rites Rituals for increase Agricultural festivals Rituals for rites of passage Ancestor cults Initiations including secret societies

Related Ceremonies

Masks can be used for different ceremonies often having multiple purposes. The size and style of masks are diverse, depicting animals, human faces and more abstract styles in sizes from a few centimetres to 4.5 metres inrepparttar 116091 case ofrepparttar 116092 Dogon Iminana ( mother mask ). With only a few exceptionsrepparttar 116093 masks are all part of a full costume and not just an isolated piece of decoration.. Segy notes:-

Face coverings Helmet masks Headdresses Masks with prominent breasts Amulets Insignia of grade Crowns of bead work


Wood The major material was wood due torepparttar 116094 large forest and range of species available. The choosing of a tree from which to make a mask was not as we might do today, find one and chop it down. Ratherrepparttar 116095 carver would seekrepparttar 116096 help of a diviner and undergo a purification ceremony and whenrepparttar 116097 first blow was struck he would drink some ofrepparttar 116098 sap in order to form a brotherhood withrepparttar 116099 tree?s spirit. Mask would be carved from one piece of wood with nothing jointed, with some ofrepparttar 116100 masks this created severe technical difficulties whenrepparttar 116101 early carvers only had simple tools. Usually green timber was used as this was easier to cut. Certain varieties would be used for some special masks, but in generalrepparttar 116102 softer woods were used

Ivory was used byrepparttar 116103 Warega and Benin. The ivory wasrepparttar 116104 property ofrepparttar 116105 Benin kings (Oba) and they wererepparttar 116106 only ones to wear ivory as a mark of office. The carving ofrepparttar 116107 Warega was not as refined but has a strong impact.

Brass was used byrepparttar 116108 Benin, Senufo and Ashanti.

Other Materials Knitted materials were used as were beadwork, basketry and fabrics. Additional materials included :- shells, beads, twigs, bark, teeth, hair, beaten or repousse metal, vegetable fibres and skin, to mention a few.

West Africa The masks of this area are well documented by Ladislas Segy in Masks of Black Africa. His book listsrepparttar 116109 following areas:-

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