How are African masks connected to a culture?

African masks are a meaningful and/or an important thing in African culture.

African masks are used for traditional rituals, dances and more depending on the culture. The Bete and Yoruba people used a mask called a funeral mask. The Bete used this mask for keeping the much feared sorcerers at bay. The Yoruba people believe that these masks embody the spirit of deceased ones. When someone is wearing such masks they can speak to the dead soul. Where the Nigil mask was a key to Ghana’s history. The Fang tribe used this mask to don them to initiate new male members into the secret society. This mask was also used to persecute wrongdoers during a ceremony.

African masks are known for their design and materials. African masks are made various things. Some of the most common materials are leather, metal, fabric, and wood. Artists also use glass, paint, fibers, shells, horns, or other items to decorate the masks because that’s what is easy to get. African masks usually have very bold and abstract designs that stand out. The design of these masks can connect to the tribe or to someone.

African masks sparked controversy among people for there cultural value.Lots of people have different opinions on selling and displaying these masks. In the early 20th century artists Pablo Picasso and Andre Derain would use some of the design of the African masks in there work. Some art originated from the bold abstract design from these masks like figure painting in western art. These designs have been seen through European eyes for years. Some people feel that using this design is a curse and it ruins the power of the mask. While others think it’s a honor. These masks are also getting put up in museums which again some think it takes away from its original meaning and magic, while other feel this is a honor and a blessing. There are a lot of opinions on displaying these masks and whether it takes away from the mask.

A lot of african cultures use masks for special events in their culture. African masks have a lot of uses and designs. Masks can be used to welcome people and say goodbye. There is also a lot of controversy around whether they should be displayed or not. African masks is a very interesting topic that has a lot of information.       


 Artyfactory, editor. “THE FUNCTION OF AN AFRICAN MASK.” artyfactory, 2018 Accessed 28 Mar. 2019.

“African Masks: Types, Meaning, Designs, Interesting Facts.” Answers Africa, 2019,  Accessed 28 Mar. 2019.

An African mask

André Derain.

Bete Mask

Dogon Mask Dance in Mali. . Accessed 11 Apr. 2019.


Pablo Piccaso Bibliography. Accessed 11 Apr. 2019.

Sudan Glass Transparent Glass Sheet. Accessed 11 Apr. 2019.