Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Karen Hodge Russell & Jenny Etmanskie
A ceremonial mask is defined as a headdress or an object that covers the face for purposes of protection, ritual, entertainment, transformation, and disguise. Ceremonial masks have different characteristics and functions, depending on the culture that is associated with the particular mask. There are some areas in the world where masks are worn to communicate with ancestors, to ward off evil spirits, to entertain a crowd through dramatic arts, or to express prestige and wealth. The ceremonial masks of Africa vary throughout the continent. Masks continue to be of great importance within certain African societies. Art has a great influence over the masks that have been produced. Art is thought to be an expression of ancestral worship. The most prominent area where ceremonial masks are present is a location from within the center of the continent moving from west to east. African masks serve several purposes. Masks not only are ...