Concept

Traditional African masks

Summary
Traditional African masks play an important role in ceremonies, rituals, and masquerades across West, Central, and Southern Africa. Ceremonies in which masks are worn include harvest celebrations, funerals, rites of passage, weddings, and coronations. In some societies, masks and masquerades are also used to settle disputes and communal conflicts. For example, members of the masquerade cult and Uma-Ada fraternity facilitate social justice and reconciliation processes among Igbo communities in Eastern Nigeria through masquerade performances. Mende and Vai women of the Sande society in Sierra Leone don the Sowei mask during rites of passage, specifically initiation ceremonies for young girls. The Plank Mask (Nwantantay) among the Bobo, Bwa, and Mossi people of Burkina Faso makes an appearance during public events such as funerals and agricultural festivals. Origins Masks are a prominent feature of African cultural heritage. Their history, use, and symbolism vary across n
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