Tribal Masks

Used through-out Africa the mask is a large part of the tribal tradition and way of life. Varying in style, composition and importance the masks are made and used by tribes for similar reasons. These reasons or occasion ranging from joyful in the celebration of harvest, sorrow as in a funeral procession, serious when land may be threatened by drought conditions, or even serious when tribes feel the need to ward off evil spirit.
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Masks play a very important part in the lives of the young when they come of age and enter into the adult world. Above all, masks are used in ceremonies where wisdom and experience of the elders is passed down to the younger generation. Where these ceremonies take place masks may be used that represent many things: their ancestors, good and evil spirits, dangerous bush and water spirits or even illness.

Masks are made from many different materials ranging from woven fibre, cane framed skin masks, cloth and wood. Predominantly wooden masks are made from one piece of wood and will cover the wearers face or whole of the head. They can be painted either very plainly in one colour or very vibrantly with a variety of colour. Adornments can also be added in the form of cowrie shells, glass beads, plant fibers, raffia and even material that would then completely hide the wearer. Whether a mask depicts a human styled face or a representation of an animal form of which there are many elephant, antelope, hyena, monkey, leopard, crocodile, fish, bird or snake to name a few they are all unique to their particular tribe.

Carvers of the mask are true craftsmen and produce real beautiful works of art to uphold their ceremonies and tribal traditions.

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