Expressionism – african Art

Introduction to African masks Reading:



Let’s take a look at some of these African Masks and discuss their aesthetic, culture and emotional qualities.


Google Image link


Interesting African masks information

  • African mask are generally made to be used. This African art is usually made to be used in various ceremonies and social events such as weddings and funerals.
  • Mask usually have a spiritual meaning or connection.
  • The artists who create mask are given a special status.
  • The mask making skill and knowledge of the spiritual meanings held by masks are passed down from father to son.
  • Mask are usually designed to appear human or animal or a combination of the two.
  • Mask are often decorated with such things as animal hair or straw (for hair and beards), animal horns, animal teeth, feathers, and seashells.
  • Not everyone in a tribe has the honour of wearing a mask; it is usually only a select few in the tribe. Often only men and sometimes only elders are given this honour.
  • It is generally believed that the individual who wears the mask transforms into a spirit. This transformation usually takes place during some type of ritual. This can allow for communication between humans and spirits.
  • African mask often represent the cultural values of the tribe. For example, In Gabon large mouths and chins represent strength and authority.
  • Mask are usually made out of wood. Other materials that are used include metals (especially bronze and copper), light stone, fabric, and pottery.
  • Often mask are painted.


Leave a Reply