Conceal and Reveal:

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Conceal and Reveal:

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1. Conceal and Reveal: An Overview of Sweet Briar College’s African Mask Collection

2. Before We Get Started…

3. Africa Africa, the continent: Africa is located in the Western hemisphere. It is close to western Europe, particularly the countries of Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. Africa, the continent: Africa is located in the Western hemisphere. It is close to western Europe, particularly the countries of Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

4. Africa Africa, the continent: Africa is located in the Western hemisphere. It is close to western Europe, particularly the countries of Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. Africa, the continent: Africa is located in the Western hemisphere. It is close to western Europe, particularly the countries of Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.

5. Western Sudan Two of the tribes that we will discuss today inhabit Sudan. Sudan comes from the Arabic bilab es sudan, “Land of the Blacks.” The Senufo and the Dogon, two African tribes from this region could visit the Sahara Desert which lies to the north, or to tropical forests that are located to their south. Two of the tribes that we will discuss today inhabit Sudan. Sudan comes from the Arabic bilab es sudan, “Land of the Blacks.” The Senufo and the Dogon, two African tribes from this region could visit the Sahara Desert which lies to the north, or to tropical forests that are located to their south.

6. Guinea Coast The Dan Tribe from Mali and the Yoruba Tribe from Nigeria in habit the Guinea Coast, an area known for its dense forest and abundant wildlife. The Dan Tribe from Mali and the Yoruba Tribe from Nigeria in habit the Guinea Coast, an area known for its dense forest and abundant wildlife.

7. The Congo One of the masks we will be seeing today comes from the Congo. This is an area that is known for its lush tropical forests. The people of Africa are very diverse. Each region of Africa has its own unique artistic traditions. However, there will be some overlapping in the features of certain masks since many tribes exchanged information with each other. Have you ever been to Africa? Have you ever worn a mask? Now its time to find out what role masks play in your life, and the lives of African tribes people!One of the masks we will be seeing today comes from the Congo. This is an area that is known for its lush tropical forests. The people of Africa are very diverse. Each region of Africa has its own unique artistic traditions. However, there will be some overlapping in the features of certain masks since many tribes exchanged information with each other. Have you ever been to Africa? Have you ever worn a mask? Now its time to find out what role masks play in your life, and the lives of African tribes people!

8. Masquerade Anyone? Wearing a mask, also known as masquerading, hides you from all the world. African children and adults wear masks during many ceremonies like funerals, initiation rites, where a person is introduced into a group, or agricultural celebrations, where they might be celebrating a good harvest! When the performer places the mask on his face, he becomes another person. This person could become a character from a myth or a fable, an important ancestor from the tribe, or a spirit from another world. Once behind the mask, the person sings, dances, and performs special actions for the ceremony. Wearing a mask, also known as masquerading, hides you from all the world. African children and adults wear masks during many ceremonies like funerals, initiation rites, where a person is introduced into a group, or agricultural celebrations, where they might be celebrating a good harvest! When the performer places the mask on his face, he becomes another person. This person could become a character from a myth or a fable, an important ancestor from the tribe, or a spirit from another world. Once behind the mask, the person sings, dances, and performs special actions for the ceremony.

9. Performers Many maskers belong to a secret society, or performer’s association. As a performer, you must rehearse and perform in close collaboration with other musicians, singers, and dancers. Many of the maskers belong to a secret society or a performer’s association. As a performer, you must rehearse and perform in close collaboration with musicians and singers.Many of the maskers belong to a secret society or a performer’s association. As a performer, you must rehearse and perform in close collaboration with musicians and singers.

10. Masquerades: *Very important events *Require much rehearsal *Powerful religious or political figures often in attendance This is a picture of a tribal chief. He is a very important man. Having a chief present at a masquerade would be like having the president at your Halloween Parade!This is a picture of a tribal chief. He is a very important man. Having a chief present at a masquerade would be like having the president at your Halloween Parade!

11. Masks Masks can be made from: 1) Wood 2) Natural, or man-made fibers 3) Cloth 4) Animal skin 5) Masks are made by master carvers within a tribe

12. Community Members of the community who are not masked still participate in the ceremonies. They interact with the maskers who dance around them. They sing and dance, encouraging everyone in the ceremony. This picture shows that the entire community is usually involved in the masked ceremonies. This picture shows that the entire community is usually involved in the masked ceremonies.

13. Space Most masquerades are not confined to a small space. Instead, they can occur in vast open spaces where many people can gather and dance without restraint.

14. Time to Play Kuba children from Congo, National Museum of African Art Children masquerade also. They often join masquerading groups and practice by performing stories. Most masqueraders are male who perform both male and female roles. Young masqueraders watch their elders and learn the dance and techniques. Here is a picture of Kuba children from the Congo playing. Here is a picture of Kuba children from the Congo playing.

15. The Dan tribe, Liberia The Dan tribe call their masks gle or ga and they believe that they are representations of spirits. Traditionally, before the ceremony or masquerade, a spirit chooses a person to impersonate them. The person is made aware of this through a dream where the spirit appears to him. The spirit then informs the person of what type of mask he should choose to impersonate the spirit, as well as the musical instruments that accompany the dance. The Dan tribe call their masks gle or ga and they believe that they are representations of spirits. Traditionally, before the ceremony or masquerade, a spirit chooses a person to impersonate them. The person is made aware of this through a dream where the spirit appears to him. The spirit then informs the person of what type of mask he should choose to impersonate the spirit, as well as the musical instruments that accompany the dance.

16. The Dan tribe, Liberia Sweet Briar Dea Mask Have you ever been initiated into a group? The mask illustrated here is a Dea mask known for its oval shaped head which ends with a sharp, pointed chin. This mask is worn by young men who are being initiated into a group. The shape of the Dea Mask is known as beautiful to the Dan people. Do you think this mask is beautiful? What makes the mask beautiful to you? The smoothness? Symmetrical? Large eyes? (Describe the piece visually to the children.) There are two types of Dea masks, one which teaches the initiates and frightens away women and children from the initiation camps. The other collects food from the mothers of the young boys who are going through initiation. The masks are carved to look like beautiful women to make the masks nice to look at and keep the initiates at ease. Have you ever been initiated into a group? The mask illustrated here is a Dea mask known for its oval shaped head which ends with a sharp, pointed chin. This mask is worn by young men who are being initiated into a group. The shape of the Dea Mask is known as beautiful to the Dan people. Do you think this mask is beautiful? What makes the mask beautiful to you? The smoothness? Symmetrical? Large eyes? (Describe the piece visually to the children.) There are two types of Dea masks, one which teaches the initiates and frightens away women and children from the initiation camps. The other collects food from the mothers of the young boys who are going through initiation. The masks are carved to look like beautiful women to make the masks nice to look at and keep the initiates at ease.

17. Yoruba Tribe, Nigeria How do you celebrate mothers day with your mother? Have you ever put on a play with the rest of your family to show your appreciation? The Gelede Men’s Association, a secret society for Yorba men, pays homage or gives respect to women by wearing the gelede mask. By wearing this mask, men honor the woman’s ability to produce life. How do you celebrate mothers day with your mother? Have you ever put on a play with the rest of your family to show your appreciation? The Gelede Men’s Association, a secret society for Yorba men, pays homage or gives respect to women by wearing the gelede mask. By wearing this mask, men honor the woman’s ability to produce life.

18. The Yoruba Tribe, Nigeria Although many of the gelede masks depict women, men dance in pairs performing the dance of homage to women. The mask is worn on the head like a cap or a helmet, covering only a portion of the face. The exaggerated lines and sculpture on top of the Sweet Briar mask depict an intricate hairstyle worn by the women of the Yoruba tribe. Although many of the gelede masks depict women, men dance in pairs performing the dance of homage to women. The mask is worn on the head like a cap or a helmet, covering only a portion of the face. The exaggerated lines and sculpture on top of the Sweet Briar mask depict an intricate hairstyle worn by the women of the Yoruba tribe.

19. The Congo This is an example of a mask made in the CongoThis is an example of a mask made in the Congo

20. The Congo We are not positive what spirit would have embodied this mask. However, we believe that the dancer who wore this mask would have impersonated Kakunga, the male spirit, on the occasion of ceremonies connected with initiation. It is a long, formidable mask which implies it represented a spirit who had lots of power. It would have most likely been a mask for the head priest of a ceremony or one used to scare the audience. What kind of dance do you think would have accompanied this mask? What do you think the music would have sounded like?We are not positive what spirit would have embodied this mask. However, we believe that the dancer who wore this mask would have impersonated Kakunga, the male spirit, on the occasion of ceremonies connected with initiation. It is a long, formidable mask which implies it represented a spirit who had lots of power. It would have most likely been a mask for the head priest of a ceremony or one used to scare the audience. What kind of dance do you think would have accompanied this mask? What do you think the music would have sounded like?

21. The Senufo Tribe, Ivory Coast Here is an example of a mask made by the Senufo tribe.Here is an example of a mask made by the Senufo tribe.

22. The Senufo Tribe, Ivory Coast This mask is unique because it reveals its purpose to the viewer instantaneously. On the top of the mask is a bird which is known to the Senufo as the hornbill bird, a mythical creature, that symbolizes fertility and protection. What kind of performance do you believe would have been conducted with this mask since it symbolizes fertility and protection? Who in the Community needs fertility and protection? Why? What kind of animal do you see at the bottom of the mask? What do you think this creature symbolizes?This mask is unique because it reveals its purpose to the viewer instantaneously. On the top of the mask is a bird which is known to the Senufo as the hornbill bird, a mythical creature, that symbolizes fertility and protection. What kind of performance do you believe would have been conducted with this mask since it symbolizes fertility and protection? Who in the Community needs fertility and protection? Why? What kind of animal do you see at the bottom of the mask? What do you think this creature symbolizes?

23. Now that we have looked at and discussed the African masks in the Sweet Briar collection, it is time for you to make your own mask! Will it be a beautiful mask like the Dea mask from the Dan tribe? Or will you choose to make a mask to honor your mother, like the Yoruba Gelede mask? Do you want to be a powerful spirit like the one that inhabits the Kakunga mask from the Congo? Or would you like to be all four? The choice is yours!Now that we have looked at and discussed the African masks in the Sweet Briar collection, it is time for you to make your own mask! Will it be a beautiful mask like the Dea mask from the Dan tribe? Or will you choose to make a mask to honor your mother, like the Yoruba Gelede mask? Do you want to be a powerful spirit like the one that inhabits the Kakunga mask from the Congo? Or would you like to be all four? The choice is yours!

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