Cultures Around the World on Masks
  • Update:2020-04-22
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  •  The mask is a camouflage, by which people hide their identity. At the same time, it can give people another identity, but can also "expose" the true self. This seemingly paradoxical dual character is a temporary release of humanity from the mselvesand it is also the basic element for us to realize the human culture.

     It can be traced back to the prehistoric Paleolithic era when humans made masks and used them as camouflage during hunting. Humans' conscious use of masks as a symbol of identity conversion appeared on French cave paintings about 20,000 years ago. These paintings show that the pre-historic wizards used a mask as a medium for human-beast communication in rituals, and it can still be seen on the appearance of the Shaman in the Arctic and Siberia.

     After the Neolithic period (about 10,000 years ago), Indians in southwestern America also had masked rituals to ensure a good harvest. For the Indians from the northwest coast of Africa and the Americas, a wizard put a scaring mask on to perform exorcism medical rituals for patients. In Chinese exorcism rituals, scaring masks were worn to drive out the epidemic and ghosts, or masks with benignant look for good luck or offspring. Some tribes in Oceania, Africa, and the Americas used masks of dead loved ones as a tool to connect the dead and the living. Eskimo Indians in Anwick of Alaska used masks that look like wolverines, representing the fusion of human and animal spirits. Ancient Pompeii in Italy used masks in adult ceremonies as an admonition. In the Egyptian, Roman, and Inca empires, masks were widely used for funerals, such as the mask of the Egyptian pharaoh. In the festivals of modern European and South American, funny or scaring masks are often seen, but it is used to create a happy or out-of-order atmosphere.

Updated:2020-04-22 PM 06:10:01