The inherent symbols of nature within Africa depicted in African decors continue to inspire the feeling and motivation of artists as reflected in the growing demands of African home furniture, and room decors. African art and the culture that embodies it are demonstrated in fine craftsmanship. Most of the traditional, handed-down techniques applied in the creation of these decors, continue to deliver quality art pieces of home decors that are highly demanded all over the world.
Just one of the most widely used African decor is the African Mask decor. Traditional masks have long been a major aspect of the African culture. African masks are regarded in simple fact as spectacular manifestations of the spirits of their long-departed ancestors, and viewed as to have imminent powers for social command.
African masks are crafted by common options and only worn by performers, or worshipers with each other with additional elaborate costumes, through a ritual dance or a staged cultural dance. The main purpose of which is to instruct and to encourage respect for African culture and history, find protection and blessing by showing reverence to most women ancestors, and thanksgiving for a great harvest. These ritual acts demonstrate vital spiritual and ethical values of the whole community, and the mask’s inventive and figurative facts reflect similar views.
African masks are usually made by hand by skillful artisans. In most parts of Africa, masks are produced of well-known wood even while in other countries, notably Kenya, masks are built of shiny terracotta. In Ghana, love masks are particularly manually crafted by the Eket artists. These masks are formed from Sese wood, a highly common and sturdy kind of wood in Ghana, which is believed to convey blessing of happiness to the an individual who wears it.
It is particularly common to see masks made of wood, and it has a pretty extensive historical past to back up that claim. Old Africans believe that trees have souls like humans, which provide life to the masks shaped from them. Consequently, before making a mask, the artisan seeks blessings from his spiritual leaders, does a purification ritual and sacrifices a present to impress the spirit of the trees. After the ritual, the tree is cut down to a way that is full of reverence. When the masks are formed, the carver takes some of the sap of tree and chews it to obtain attachment with the tree. The artist considers all these rites important for the good of his craftsmanship and obtain a good relationship with nature and the gods.
African masks can be used for various causes, not just as decors or home ornaments. They are used in different rituals and ceremonies. The size and style of the masks are also varied. Animals, human faces and other abstract designs are painted with the masks. While sizes may vary from a few centimeters to 4.5 meters, such as the ‘Dogon Iminana’ or commonly known as the mother mask.
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