History, culture, ritual, spirituality... these are some common adjectives used to describe African masks.
These African masks almost always have a spiritual meaning that may not be readily apparent to most people . The unorthodox edges and odd caricatures of certain masks may appear frightening to some people not familiar with their significance.
African Masks have two main functions or uses. One being that they are used for public ceremonies or functions and the other for being used for a private ceremony like a secret society within various African tribes or tribal royalty.
Other common uses involve deaths, births and marriages.
All African Masks are carved by artisans who have learnt their skills from a master carver for a period of three to four years. Most of the time the skills are passed on for generations from father to son.
After learning the skills a select few are groomed as master carvers for the next generation to keep the tradition alive.
All masks are created using original prototypes from their respective tribes.
The main tool used is an 'Adze", also known as "hoe" in most African countries and traditionally used for agricultural work. The "Adze" is an ancient edge tool dating as far back as the stone age.
The carvers still use this tool for most of the work done on a mask in addition to an axe or a hollow chisel to carve out the wood from inside the mask.
In the old days when the master carver died his best protege inherited his tools as there was a belief that these tools contained the skills of the master carver.
We have one of the largest and most diverse collections of Authentic African Masks and all of our masks are hand carved from wood using old world techniques and sourced directly from Africa.
To buy African masks click on any of the category images to view the varied range available: