Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [African_Arts] purpose of masks

Expand Messages
  • Aaron Weston
    In my opinion, authentic African Masks are created to transform the wearer into a mythical being, deity, spirit...etc., in order to inspire, encourage,
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 24, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      In my opinion, authentic African Masks are created to transform the wearer into
      a mythical being, deity, spirit...etc., in order to inspire, encourage, advance,
      celebrate, reward, frighten and/or control the surrounding population.





      ----- Original Message ----
      From: asteresplanetai <asteresplanetai@...>
      To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sun, June 24, 2012 2:15:54 PM
      Subject: [African_Arts] purpose of masks

      +++


      hello, i'm new to the group, which doesn't seem to be too active, and
      mostly has been occupied with the identification of specific pieces,
      rather than the theoretical aspects of african art.

      but i am interested in learning more about the purpose, use, and
      function of masks in african cultures.

      I lived in Uganda for three years, and in South Africa for two, but
      never saw one used, nor could anyone tell me much about them. Not that
      i had a lot of time to pursue the subject, but i did try.

      I've read Jahnheinz Jahn's excellent book, *Muntu*— if you haven't
      read it, i can strongly recommend it.

      Maybe a good place to begin the conversation would be to ask what cool
      things has anyone learned about masks? Why are any of you interested
      in them? What philosophical or cosmic or religious meanings strike you
      as significant?

      kind regards from a warm summer evening,

      john burnett.




      Help Uganda high school students graduate!
      http://jbburnett.com/africa/uganda_kids.pdf

      Contribute through Paypal at
      http://stnicholasmarin.org/african-education-fund/
      or send checks to---
      St Nicholas African Education Fund
      102 Ross Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960
      Tel 415 454 0982

      Thanx!













      ------------------------------------

      African Arts and Culture Discussion Group

      *Website for the group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/

      *Photos folder for the group:
      http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos


      *Message archives for the group:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/messages

      Yahoo! Groups Links
    • pataphor123
      In the case of the Songye, most functions are magical; as part of the Bwadi Bwa (or Bwadi Ka) society, from protecting the village from lightning to helping
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 24, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        In the case of the Songye, most functions are magical; as part of the Bwadi Bwa (or Bwadi Ka) society, from protecting the village from lightning to helping crops grow, welcoming visitors, policing (in some cases), all generally with the thought of pleasing (or at least avoiding any ill effects from) their god Efile Mukulu.

        The type of magic practiced by the kifwebe was "mulawe," which could protect from "ndoshi" (harmful magic), but most often was a type of "bwanga" (protective magic).

        Source: An African World: The Basongye Village of Lupupa Ngye, Alan P. Merriam, 1974



        --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, asteresplanetai <asteresplanetai@...> wrote:
        >
        > +++
        >
        >
        > hello, i'm new to the group, which doesn't seem to be too active, and
        > mostly has been occupied with the identification of specific pieces,
        > rather than the theoretical aspects of african art.
        >
        > but i am interested in learning more about the purpose, use, and
        > function of masks in african cultures.
        >
        > I lived in Uganda for three years, and in South Africa for two, but
        > never saw one used, nor could anyone tell me much about them. Not that
        > i had a lot of time to pursue the subject, but i did try.
        >
        > I've read Jahnheinz Jahn's excellent book, *Muntu*— if you haven't
        > read it, i can strongly recommend it.
        >
        > Maybe a good place to begin the conversation would be to ask what cool
        > things has anyone learned about masks? Why are any of you interested
        > in them? What philosophical or cosmic or religious meanings strike you
        > as significant?
        >
        > kind regards from a warm summer evening,
        >
        > john burnett.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Help Uganda high school students graduate!
        > http://jbburnett.com/africa/uganda_kids.pdf
        >
        > Contribute through Paypal at
        > http://stnicholasmarin.org/african-education-fund/
        > or send checks to---
        > St Nicholas African Education Fund
        > 102 Ross Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960
        > Tel 415 454 0982
        >
        > Thanx!
        >
      • lokaart@aol.com
        According to the anthropologist Frank Herreman: One of the most dramatic manners whereby the contact between humans and the supernatural acquires a visible
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 25, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          According to the anthropologist Frank Herreman:
           
          One of the most dramatic manners whereby the contact between humans and the supernatural acquires a visible form is at the moment that spirits under the form of masks appear. According to our understanding, the mask is a means of partially or wholly covering the face or the body to render it unrecognisable, and through which the masker acquires another identity. In large parts of the world the original function – associated with the supernatural – has declined, and masking has evolved into a form of profane recreation coming to the fore only once or at most a few times per year, for example during carnival. In West and Central Africa, the function of a number of masks has remained much closer to its original significance. Consequently, such masks still manifest at crucial moments during the cycle of the seasons, and within the course of an individual’s life cycle as well. The mask wearer in this context is, therefore, a more important person than someone who masks for purely recreational motives. In the African context the mask wearer is always an initiated person whose identity is not made known. He undergoes not only a physical, but also a psychic transformation. He comes under the spell of the spirit that he incarnates, and one believes that he so disposes of the supernatural characteristics of the latter. Since the supernatural stands outside the law of the living, one supposes that the mask acts according to its own whimsy. In these acts, however, sits a structure that is dictated by the priest, the magician, the society, the elders, or other forms of the power structure. They must watch over the observance of religious rules, the common law, and the maintenance of various rituals which must be carried out within the scope of events in life’s cycle. Thus, the masks are important instruments that aid in the consolidation of the position of power of the various authority structures.

           
          Which rather sums it up, I think.
           
          Mike Yates
           
          In a message dated 25/06/2012 15:30:27 GMT Daylight Time, impex7@... writes:
           

          In my opinion, authentic African Masks are created to transform the wearer into
          a mythical being, deity, spirit...etc., in order to inspire, encourage, advance,
          celebrate, reward, frighten and/or control the surrounding population.

          ----- Original Message ----
          From: asteresplanetai <asteresplanetai@...>
          To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sun, June 24, 2012 2:15:54 PM
          Subject: [African_Arts] purpose of masks

          +++

          hello, i'm new to the group, which doesn't seem to be too active, and
          mostly has been occupied with the identification of specific pieces,
          rather than the theoretical aspects of african art.

          but i am interested in learning more about the purpose, use, and
          function of masks in african cultures.

          I lived in Uganda for three years, and in South Africa for two, but
          never saw one used, nor could anyone tell me much about them. Not that
          i had a lot of time to pursue the subject, but i did try.

          I've read Jahnheinz Jahn's excellent book, *Muntu*— if you haven't
          read it, i can strongly recommend it.

          Maybe a good place to begin the conversation would be to ask what cool
          things has anyone learned about masks? Why are any of you interested
          in them? What philosophical or cosmic or religious meanings strike you
          as significant?

          kind regards from a warm summer evening,

          john burnett.

          Help Uganda high school students graduate!
          http://jbburnett.com/africa/uganda_kids.pdf

          Contribute through Paypal at
          http://stnicholasmarin.org/african-education-fund/
          or send checks to---
          St Nicholas African Education Fund
          102 Ross Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960
          Tel 415 454 0982

          Thanx!

          ------------------------------------

          African Arts and Culture Discussion Group

          *Website for the group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/

          *Photos folder for the group:
          http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/photos

          *Message archives for the group:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/African_Arts/messages

          Yahoo! Groups Links

        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.