African Masks

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African masks (tribal and ceremonial ) are considered amongst the finest creations in the art world and are highly sought after by art collectors. Masking ceremonies in Africa have great cultural and traditional significance. During celebrations, initiations, crop harvesting, war preparation, peace and trouble times, African masks are worn by a chosen or initiated dancer. It can be worn in three different ways: vertically covering the face as helmets, encasing the entire head, and as crest, resting upon the head. African masks often represent a spirit and it is strongly believed that the spirit of the ancestors possesses the wearer. The face masks are tied with bands either directly to the head or are held in place by a scarf or a raffia wig. There are different varieties of masks in Africa. Fang mask of Gabon and Marka mask of Guinea are well known. Then there are the Kenyan Animal masks, the Maasai masks and the Cowry mask of Ghana. The famous Senufu masks combine features of animals and humans in a single design. Other significant masks are the famous ancestral tribal mask of the Bundu tribe of Benin, Baule mask, Biombo mask, Biwa mask, Dan mask, Goma mask, Kota mask, Kwele mask, Ligbi mask, Lulua mask, Pende mask, Puru mask, Teke mask and Woyo mask. The African masks are meant to do much more than just hang on a wall.