Masks of the peoples of the world

Masks of the peoples of the world
Masks of the peoples of the world
Anonim

Ritual masks from Africa, North and South America, Asia and Oceania. What is their purpose?

Ritual masks

Masks were always made from improvised means - wood, bark, grass, skin, matter, bones, etc., and depicted human faces, animal heads and all kinds of fantastic or mythological creatures. Ritual masks are associated with the cults of ancestral spirits, animals (totemism, which is the fundamental principle of all existing religions) and nature. The one who put on the ritual mask seemed to be transformed into the creature that she portrayed. The nature of the mask is deeply symbolic.

The origin of a particular mask is not always clear, but it is still possible to highlight some typical functions of a ritual mask. Thus, the famous American anthropologist and linguist Franz Boas distinguished the function of the so-called "personification of the spirit", with the help of which hostile forces are driven away, as well as the function of the mask as a means to deceive the spirit. Another function of masks is, of course, to preserve the cult of ancestors and perpetuate their memory. The Soviet philosopher and culturologist Mikhail Bakhtin also emphasized the spectacular role of the mask as an object of laughter and carnival culture. It is not for nothing that the prototypes of the once ritual mask have become an invariable attribute of the theater (this includes not only theatrical masks, but, in fact, make-up, which is also a kind of mask).

Image

Of course, a ritual mask is, first of all, an attribute of rituals. But what is the essence of the ritual in the traditional cultures of the ancient and modern peoples of the world? Rituals are designed to separate the area of ​​profane (worldly, everyday) life and life in the sacred world. The transition from one world to another is impossible without all sorts of cult and magical objects, which from time immemorial have been food, drink, in some cases mutilations made for ritual purposes, etc. One of the most important tools for such a transition was the mask. Therefore, its main function is still reincarnation into a kind of being from the sacred world (animal, ancestor, spirit, god).

According to the designation, the German ethnographer Richard Andre and the Russian anthropologist and ethnographer Dmitry Anuchin divided masks into: 1) cult, 2) military (often, for example, among the peoples of Melanesia, Africa, America, masks were belonging to the so-called secret unions and were used when initiating young men, military raids, administration of justice, etc.), 3) funeral, 4) wedding, 5) theater and dance.

Image

Another classification takes into account the nature of the image: simple images of a human face, 2) distorted, frightening images, caricatures, 3) images of animals, 4) headbands, etc.

Despite the great variety of types of masks among different peoples of the world, they are all, one way or another, universal. Why? In order to answer this question, it is necessary to return to the semantic meaning of the mask. What is a mask for? To cover your face. And what is a face? This is the expression of our self. Our emotions, feelings, character, age, belonging to a social stratum - all this is reflected on our face. We can say that our changeable face is a reflection of our life. That is why covering the face in "translation" from the language of traditional societies means symbolic death. Symbolic death is an invariable attribute of transition rituals. While going through the ritual, a representative of the traditional community temporarily "dies" to the outside world and "resurrects" in a new capacity, often with a new name and essence. A similar ritual, by the way, is often displayed in fairy tales, for example, in Russian folk tales, when Ivanushka the Fool is boiled in boiling water.

Image

In general, any temporary ritual hiding of the face in "translation" from the language of symbols means death.The role of a mask, for example, in wedding ceremonies today is played by a veil, which is used to curtain (or once used to curtain) the face of the bride, who on this day will turn from a girl into a woman and a wife. In addition to the purpose of hiding the face, the color of the veil plays a role here - white, which is both a symbol of purity and death.

Thus, the mask is a symbol of the transition to another reality. The phenomenon of the mask is multifaceted, but the fundamental principle of its essence is the symbol of being in the realm of death.

Image

Popular by topic