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African Masks

African Masks represent spirits of animals or ancestors, mythological heroes, moral values or a form of honoring of a person in a symbolic way. They are made from wood, pottery, textiles, copper and bronze. Once the African mask is complete the African mask is usually treated with vegetable oil. In many African tribes, masks symbolize unseen, supernatural forces which are beneficial to communities. This could be anything from fertility to weather patterns. The wearer conceptually surrenders his human body when wearing the mask (and sometimes an accompanying costume), transforming into a spiritual being. There is a spiritual power in masks that transports one into realms unseen and gives voice to things unspoken. Within the context of ritual, putting on a mask places the wearer at the intersection between the present and the past, the living and the dead, this world and the Otherworld.

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