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What are Masks?

12/9/2013 1:04:47 PM | by Anonymous


Masks appeared in English, 1530s from the Middle French masque that ‘covering to hide or guard the face’. This word is derived from the Italian maschera from Medieval Latin masca ‘nightmare, masks and specter’. The uses of masks in rituals and ceremonies are an ancient human practice across the in today’s world. Furthermore, some masks can be worn for protection, hunting, sport, in wars or used as ornamentation besides some decorative masks were not designed to be worn. Religious uses of masks have waned and they are used in drama therapy or psychotherapy.


Mask is an object that is normally worn on the face. This is usually for disguise, entertainment, protection and performance. Since antiquity, these masks are used for both practical and ceremonial purposes and they are worn on the face. In addition, masks can be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer’s body. For example, in Australia some totem masks can cover the body whilst the Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing.


Performance masks are used as a feature of masked performance for both ritually and various theatrical traditions. The ritual and theatre definitions of masks are frequently overlapped and merge but they can provide a useful basis for categorization. These performance masks are specifically used in drama and are represented by the Performing Arts. In ancient Rome, the word persona meant “mask” is referred to an individual who had full Roman citizenship. The citizen can demonstrate her or his lineage through death masks of their ancestors as well as wax casts can be kept in a laraium of the family shrine.


Death mask is a cast of someone’s face which is taken after death that is either plaster or was and is usually used to create the masks. Some of these can by used later to be as a model for portraits, sculptures and other mementos. When creating these masks, they are very widespread and are an important cultural aspect during the mourning rituals for people. In some cases, sculptors used the dead as models for effigies, busts and other memorials for the dead.


The most famous death masks from the ancient world is the mask on the mummy of Tutankhamen, the Egyptians believed that the mask gave power to the mummy furthermore it is very common to take a death mask after someone’s death. The mask is often offered by casket people and funeral parlors who prepared bodies for burial. The making of a good death mask need to require some skill because it can be hard to take a cast of the face without having to distort the features or damaging the body.


The rites of passage are for young members of the family or funerals that are usually carried out at the shrine under the ancestral masks. When performing deeds of the lives of the ancestors as well as linking the role of mask as a ritual object in theatre the funeral professional actors will need to wear the masks.


The masks are vivid element and familiar in many folk and traditional ceremonies, traditional pageants, rituals and festivals. They are normally part of the costume that will adorns the whole body and embodies the tradition importance to the religious and social life of the community as a specific group or whole within the community. These masks are used universally to maintain their power as well as mystery for their wearers and audience.


Additionally, the continued popularity of wearing masks at the carnival, children at parties and festivals such as Halloween. Nowadays, these mass produced masks are often associated with popular films such as television programmes and cartoon characters.

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