• Category: Masks Clipart
  • Amount: 25+
  • Date: December 16, 2017

In nonliterate as well as in highly civilized cultures, expressions of the presence of supernatural entities. The person wearing the mask feels internally transformed and takes on temporarily the qualities of the god or demon represented by the mask. As a result of this, masks came to be thought of not only as disguises for the face but also as independent cult and art objects, e. g. , the diabase masks of the T eotihuacan civilization in ancient Mexico. In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Melanesia, wooden masks have great ritual importance, especially in the rites of secret alliances. For Mediterranean antiquity masks provided a means of identifying with a supernatural being. Theatrical masks go back to the masks worn in the cult of Dionysus (see BACCHUS). Fright-masks (see GORGONS) were used as decorations to ward off enemies and evil spirits. In Mycenaean times gold-leaf masks were placed on the faces of the dead (Agamemnon's mask is a well-known example), presumably to conceal the collapse of the features this custom has been documented occasionally in the Central Europe of the Hallstatt period (ca. 750-450 B.C. ), e.g., in the hill graves of Gross-Klein in the Austrian province of Styria. The helmetmasks of Roman times presumably not only served as protection but also lent their wearers a heroic appearance. In East Asia the wooden masks of Noh theater (representing maidens, men, old men, old women, and demons) are especially noteworthy. THey are supposed to offer compact expressions of character and add emphasis to the gestures of the actors.

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