Emotions are on the whole a vital part of our existence. They are the main motivating force that strongly affects the way we respond to certain situations. A wonderful example to this is when we are happy; we will likely do good things. In contrast, we act negatively when we are angry or dismayed. Indeed, they greatly influence our actions and responses. Another way to perceive our emotions is through our facial expressions.
Our facial expressions can be considered as natural mask of our face. In the same way, masks are items crafted to suit our countenances with an expression. Each of these types of masks has their specific purpose. Some face coverings are designed to scare people whereas others are made to astound us!
Masks have had a long, rich history and they exist in almost every culture and civilization. One of the oldest and best masks makers are Africans. In fact, art collectors in our modern society highly want to acquire these masks because of its elaborate designs and symbolism. African masks play a large part of their customs and practices. They are actually a symbol of their family pride. History tells us that Africans are strong believers of their ancestors and the power they have. As a result, they create these masterpieces with the belief that the spirits of their forefathers resides in it giving them strength in difficult times especially war and drought.
African masks have many important functions. They are worn on ceremonies, crop harvesting, war preparation, peace times and trouble times. Usually in their ceremonies, Africans would start to dance after the mask is worn because of the belief that they would attain a state of mind purposely, to “communicate” with their ancestors. Then constant messages would be spoken by the dancer which they see as a divine inspiration coming from his ancestors.
Moreover, African masks are made up of different materials such as leather, metal, fabric and even wood. These materials are of good quality and have long lasting features- essential elements of a good product.
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