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Throughout the world, masks are used for their expressive power as a feature of masked performance — both ritually and in various theatre traditions. The ritual and theatrical definitions of mask usage frequently overlap and merge but still provide a useful basis for categorisation.

The image of juxtaposed Comedy and Tragedy masks are widely used to represent the Performing Arts, and specifically drama. In many dramatic traditions including the theatre of ancient Greece , the classical Noh drama of Japan 14th century to present , the traditional Lhamo drama of Tibet , Talchum in Korea, and the Topeng dance of Indonesia , masks were or are typically worn by all the performers, with several different types of mask used for different types of character.

In Ancient Rome, the word persona meant 'a mask'; it also referred to an individual who had full Roman citizenship. A citizen could demonstrate his or her lineage through imagines , death masks of the ancestors. These were wax casts kept in a lararium , the family shrine. Rites of passage, such as initiation of young members of the family, or funerals, were carried out at the shrine under the watch of the ancestral masks. At funerals, professional actors would wear these masks to perform deeds of the lives of the ancestors, [23] thus linking the role of mask as a ritual object and in theatre.

Masks are a familiar and vivid element in many folk and traditional pageants , ceremonies , rituals , and festivals , and are often of an ancient origin. Masks are used almost universally and maintain their power and mystery both for their wearers and their audience. The continued popularity of wearing masks at carnival , and for children at parties and for festivals such as Halloween are good examples. Nowadays these are usually mass-produced plastic masks, often associated with popular films , TV programmes, or cartoon characters — they are, however, reminders of the enduring power of pretence and play and the power and appeal of masks.

Ritual masks occur throughout the world, and although they tend to share many characteristics, highly distinctive forms have developed. The function of the masks may be magical or religious; they may appear in rites of passage or as a make-up for a form of theatre.

Equally masks may disguise a penitent or preside over important ceremonies; they may help mediate with spirits, or offer a protective role to the society who utilise their powers. In parts of Australia , giant totem masks cover the body. There are a wide variety of masks used in Africa. In West Africa, masks are used in masquerades that form part of religious ceremonies enacted to communicate with spirits and ancestors.

The masks are usually carved with an extraordinary skill and variety by artists who will usually have received their training as an apprentice to a master carver — frequently it is a tradition that has been passed down within a family through many generations. Males wear the mask, although it does depict a female.

Many African masks represent animals. Some African tribes believe that the animal masks can help them communicate with the spirits who live in forests or open savannas. People of Burkina Faso known as the Bwa and Nuna call to the spirit to stop destruction. The Dogon of Mali have complex religions that also have animal masks.

Their three main cults use seventy-eight different types of masks. Most of the ceremonies of the Dogon culture are secret, although the antelope dance is shown to non-Dogons. The antelope masks are rough rectangular boxes with several horns coming out of the top.

The Dogons are expert agriculturists and the antelope symbolizes a hard-working farmer. Another culture that has a very rich agricultural tradition is the Bamana people of Mali. The antelope called Chiwara is believed to have taught man the secrets of agriculture.

Although the Dogons and Bamana people both believe the antelope symbolises agriculture, they interpret elements the masks differently. To the Bamana people, swords represent the sprouting of grain. Masks may also indicate a culture's ideal of feminine beauty. The masks of Punu of Gabon have highly arched eyebrows, almost almond-shaped eyes and a narrow chin. The raised strip running from both sides of the nose to the ears represent jewellery.

Dark black hairstyle, tops the mask off. The whiteness of the face represent the whiteness and beauty of the spirit world. Only men wear the masks and perform the dances with high stilts despite the masks representing women. One of the most beautiful representations of female beauty is the Idia 's Mask of Benin in present-day Edo State of Nigeria.

It is believed to have been commissioned by a king of Benin in memory of his mother. To honor his dead mother, the king wore the mask on his hip during special ceremonies. The Senoufo people of the Ivory Coast represent tranquility by making masks with eyes half-shut and lines drawn near the mouth. The Temne of Sierra Leone use masks with small eyes and mouths to represent humility and humbleness.

They represent wisdom by making bulging forehead. Other masks that have exaggerated long faces and broad foreheads symbolize the soberness of one's duty that comes with power. War masks are also popular. The Grebo of the Ivory Coast and Liberia carve masks with round eyes to represent alertness and anger, with the straight nose to represent unwillingness to retreat. Today, the qualities of African art are beginning to be more understood and appreciated. However, most African masks are now being produced for the tourist trade.

Although they often show skilled craftsmanship, they nearly always lack the spiritual character of the traditional tribal masks. The variety and beauty of the masks of Melanesia are almost as highly developed as in Africa. It is a culture where ancestor worship is dominant and religious ceremonies are devoted to ancestors.

Inevitably, many of the mask types relate to use in these ceremonies and are linked with the activities of secret societies. The mask is regarded as an instrument of revelation, giving form to the sacred. This is often accomplished by linking the mask to an ancestral presence, and thus bringing the past into the present.

As a culture of scattered islands and peninsulars, Melanesian mask forms have developed in a highly diversified fashion, with a great deal of variety in their construction and aesthetic. They are conical masks, made from cane and leaves. Arctic Coastal groups have tended towards simple religious practice but a highly evolved and rich mythology, especially concerning hunting. In some areas, annual shamanic ceremonies involved masked dances and these strongly abstracted masks are arguably the most striking artifacts produced in this region.

Inuit groups vary widely and do not share a common mythology or language. Not surprisingly their mask traditions are also often different, although their masks are often made out of driftwood, animal skins, bones, and feathers.

In some areas Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing. Pacific Northwest Coastal indigenous groups were generally highly skilled woodworkers. Their masks were often master-pieces of carving, sometimes with movable jaws, or a mask within a mask, and parts moved by pulling cords.

The carving of masks was an important feature of wood craft, along with many other features that often combined the utilitarian with the symbolic, such as shields , canoes , poles, and houses. Woodland tribes, especially in the North-East and around the Great Lakes , cross-fertilized culturally with one another.

These masks appear in a great variety of shapes, depending on their precise function. Pueblo craftsmen produced impressive work for masked religious ritual, especially the Hopi and Zuni. These are usually made of leather with appendages of fur, feathers or leaves. Some cover the face, some the whole head and are often highly abstracted forms. Navajo masks appear to be inspired by the Pueblo prototypes.

In more recent times, masking is a common feature of Mardi Gras traditions, most notably in New Orleans. Costumes and masks originally inspired by masquerade balls are frequently worn by krewe members on Mardi Gras Day. Laws against concealing one's identity with a mask are suspended for the day. Distinctive styles of masks began to emerge in pre-Hispanic America about BC, although there is evidence of far older mask forms.

In the Andes , masks were used to dress the faces of the dead. These were originally made of fabric, but later burial masks were sometimes made of beaten copper or gold , and occasionally of clay. For the Aztecs , human skulls were prized as war trophies , and skull masks were not uncommon.

Masks were also used as part of court entertainments, possibly combining political with religious significance. Masks remain an important feature of popular carnivals and religious dances, such as The Dance of the Moors and Christians. Mexico, in particular, retains a great deal of creativity in the production of masks, encouraged by collectors.

Wrestling matches, where it is common for the participants to wear masks , are very popular, and many of the wrestlers can be considered folk heroes. For instance, the popular wrestler El Santo continued wearing his mask after retirement, revealed his face briefly only in old age, and was buried wearing his silver mask. In China, masks are thought to have originated in ancient religious ceremonies. Images of people wearing masks have been found in rock paintings along the Yangtze.

Later mask forms brings together myths and symbols from shamanism and Buddhism. Shigong dance masks were used in shamanic rituals to thank the gods, while nuo dance masks protected from bad spirits. Wedding masks were used to pray for good luck and a lasting marriage, and "Swallowing Animal" masks were associated with protecting the home and symbolised the "swallowing" of disaster.

Opera masks were used in a basic "common" form of opera performed without a stage or backdrops. These led to colourful facial patterns that we see in today's Peking opera. Masked characters, usually divinities, are a central feature of Indian dramatic forms, many based on depicting the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. Countries that have had strong Indian cultural influences — Cambodia , Burma , Indonesia , Thailand , and Lao — have developed the Indian forms, combined with local myths, and developed their own characteristic styles.

The masks are usually highly exaggerated and formalised, and share an aesthetic with the carved images of monstrous heads that dominate the facades of Hindu and Buddhist temples. These faces or Kirtimukhas , 'Visages of Glory', are intended to ward off evil and are associated with the animal world as well as the divine.

During ceremonies, these visages are given active form in the great mask dramas of the South and South-eastern Asian region. In Indonesia, the mask dance predates Hindu-Buddhist influences. It is believed that the use of masks is related to the cult of the ancestors, which considered dancers the interpreters of the gods. Native Indonesian tribes such as Dayak have masked Hudoq dance that represents nature spirits. In Java and Bali , masked dance is commonly called topeng and demonstrated Hindu influences as it often feature epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The native story of Panji also popular in topeng masked dance. Indonesian topeng dance styles are widely distributed, such as topeng Bali, Cirebon, Betawi, Malang, Yogyakarta, and Solo. Japanese masks are part of a very old and highly sophisticated and stylized theatrical tradition.

Although the roots are in prehistoric myths and cults, they have developed into refined art forms. The oldest masks are the gigaku. The form no longer exists, and was probably a type of dance presentation. The bugaku developed from this — a complex dance-drama that used masks with moveable jaws. The masks are worn throughout very long performances and are consequently very light. Kabuki is the theatre of modern Japan, rooted in the older forms, but in this form masks are replaced by painted faces.

Korean masks have a long tradition associated with shamanism and later in ritual dance. Korean masks were used in war, on both soldiers and their horses; ceremonially, for burial rites in jade and bronze and for shamanistic ceremonies to drive away evil spirits; to remember the faces of great historical figures in death masks; and in the arts, particularly in ritual dances, courtly, and theatrical plays.

The present uses are as miniature masks for tourist souvenirs, or on mobile phones , where they hang as good-luck talismans. Theatre in the Middle East, as elsewhere, was initially of a ritual nature, dramatising man's relationship with nature, the gods, and other human beings. It grew out of sacred rites of myths and legends performed by priests and lay actors at fixed times and often in fixed locations. Folk theatre — mime, mask, puppetry, farce, juggling — had a ritual context in that it was performed at religious or rites of passage such as days of naming, circumcisions, and marriages.

Over time, some of these contextual ritual enactments became divorced from their religious meaning and they were performed throughout the year. Some years ago, kings and commoners alike were entertained by dance and mime accompanied by music where the dancers often wore masks, a vestige of an earlier era when such dances were enacted as religious rites. According to George Goyan , this practice evoked that of Roman funeral rites where masked actor-dancers represented the deceased with motions and gestures mimicking those of the deceased while singing the praise of his life see Masks in Performance above.

Masks are used throughout Europe, and are frequently integrated into regional folk celebrations and customs. Old masks are preserved and can be seen in museums and other collections, and much research has been undertaken into the historical origins of masks. Most probably represent nature spirits , and as a result many of the associated customs are seasonal.

The original significance would have survived only until the introduction of Christianity which then incorporated many of the customs into its own traditions. In the process their meanings were also changed so, for example, old gods and goddesses were, literally, demonised and were viewed as mere devils , subjugated to the Abrahamic God. Many of the masks and characters used in European festivals belong to the contrasting categories of the 'good', or 'idealised beauty', set against the 'ugly' or 'beastly' and grotesque.

This is particularly true of the Germanic and Central European festivals. Another common type is the Fool , sometimes considered to be the synthesis of the two contrasting type of Handsome and Ugly. The oldest representations of masks are animal masks, such as the cave paintings of Lascaux in the Dordogne in southern France. Such masks survive in the alpine regions of Austria and Switzerland, and may be connected with hunting or shamanism , and tend to be particularly associated with the New Year and Carnival festivals.

The debate about the meaning of these and other mask forms continues in Europe, where monsters , bears , wild men , harlequins , hobby horses , and other fanciful characters appear in carnivals throughout the continent. It is generally accepted that the masks, noise, colour and clamour are meant to drive away the forces of darkness and winter, and open the way for the spirits of light and the coming of spring.

Another tradition of European masks developed, more self-consciously, from court and civic events, or entertainments managed by guilds and co-fraternities. These grew out of the earlier revels and had become evident by the 15th century in places like Rome, and Venice , where they developed as entertainments to enliven towns and cities.

Thus the Maundy Thursday carnival in St Marks Square in Venice, attended by the Doge and aristocracy also involved the guilds, including a guild of maskmakers. By the 18th century, it was already a tourist attraction, Goethe saying that he was ugly enough not to need a mask. The carnival was repressed during the Napoleonic Republic, although in the s its costumes and the masks aping the C 18th heyday were revived.

During the Reformation, many of these carnival customs began to die out in Protestant regions, although they seem to have survived in Catholic areas despite the opposition of the ecclesiastical authorities. So by the 19th century, the carnivals of the relatively wealthy bourgeois town communities, with elaborate masques and costumes, existed side by side with the ragged and essentially folkloric customs of the rural areas.

In the beginning of the new century, on 19 August , the Bulgarian archeologist Georgi Kitov discovered a g gold mask in the burial mound "Svetitsata" near Shipka , Central Bulgaria. It is a very fine piece of workmanship made out of massive 23 karat gold. Unlike other masks discovered in the Balkans of which 3 are in Republic of Macedonia and two in Greece , it is now kept in the National Archaeological Museum in Sofia.

It is considered to be the mask of a Thracian king, presumably Teres. Masks play a key part within world theatre traditions, particularly non-western theatre forms. They also continue to be a vital force within contemporary theatre, and their usage takes a variety of forms.

In many cultural traditions, the masked performer is a central concept and is highly valued. In the western tradition, actors in Ancient Greek theatre wore masks, as they do in traditional Japanese Noh drama. In some Greek masks, the wide and open mouth of the mask contained a brass megaphone enabling the voice of the wearer to be projected into the large auditoria. In medieval Europe, masks were used in mystery and miracle plays to portray allegorical creatures, and the performer representing God frequently wore a gold or gilt mask.

During the Renaissance , masques and ballet de cour developed — courtly masked entertainments that continued as part of ballet conventions until the late eighteenth century. The masked characters of the Commedia dell'arte included the ancestors of the modern clown. In contemporary western theatre, the mask is often used alongside puppetry to create a theatre which is essentially visual rather than verbal, and many of its practitioners have been visual artists. Masks are an important part of many theatre forms throughout world cultures, and their usage in theatre has often developed from, or continues to be part of old, highly sophisticated, stylized theatrical traditions.

Masks and puppets were often incorporated into the theatre work of European avant-garde artists from the turn of the nineteenth century. Alfred Jarry , Pablo Picasso , Oskar Schlemmer , and other artists of the Bauhaus School, as well as surrealists and Dadaists , experimented with theatre forms and masks in their work.

In the 20th century, many theatre practitioners, such as Meyerhold , Edward Gordon Craig , Jacques Copeau , and others in their lineage, attempted to move away from Naturalism. They turned to sources such as Oriental Theatre particularly Japanese Noh theatre and commedia dell'arte , [45] both of which forms feature masks prominently.

Edward Gordon Craig — in A Note on Masks proposed the virtues of using masks over the naturalism of the actor. Copeau, in his attempts to "Naturalise" the actor [48] decided to use mask to liberate them from their "excessive awkwardness". Lecoq met Amleto Satori , a sculptor, and they collaborated on reviving the techniques of making traditional leather Commedia masks.

Later, developing Copeau's "noble mask", Lecoq would ask Satori to make him masques neutre the neutral mask. For Lecoq, masks became an important training tool, the neutral mask being designed to facilitate a state of openness in the student-performers, moving gradually on to character and expressive masks, and finally to "the smallest mask in the world" the clown's red-nose. One highly important feature of Lecoq's use of mask, wasn't so much its visual impact on stage, but how it changed the performers movement on stage.

Pratchett, Terry. The analyzing mask 5 includes a raster analyzing mask and a code analyzing mask. Gray settled his tank to a shelf of rock. He took a deep breath, unhooked the regulator hose from his mask , then turned to face the tunnel. It would be snug. Map of Bones. Rollins, James. For large filter masks , the discrete mask with R coefficients comes close to a continuous box function of widths. Digital Image Processing. Compare these clear eyes with the red balls yonder- this face with that mask - this form with that bulk; then judge me, priest of the gospel and man of the law, and remember with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged!

Jane Eyre. Bronte, Charlotte. Get only those with removable ones since you might want to make use of a gas mask. Steal This Book. Hoffman, Abbie. I returned his embrace and forced myself to wear a mask of pleasure. A Spectacle Of Corruption. Liss, David. I was on the ground laughing, Assef straddling my chest, his face a mask of lunacy, framed by snarls of his hair swaying inches from my face.

The Kite Runner. Hosseini, Khaled. Data schemas just define the internal structure of search masks in general, and provide a general guideline for generating a tree of components of the search mask. The blind eyes fixed sightlessly on her. For one moment Jodi saw another face there—that of Hedra Scorce, the sweet and gentle face of an innocent child—then the ruined mask returned. The Little Country. De Lint, Charles. Yes, he had done them, secretly, filthily, time after time, and, hardened in sinful impenitence, he had dared to wear the mask of holiness before the tabernacle itself while his soul within was a living mass of corruption.

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Bongino: The Left enforces masks for power, not safety


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