La Charles James's carving place presents the first video in a series about wood mask carving. He is certainly an inspiration to all carvers and mask makers out there. This first lesson teaches us the basics of starting your carving, with details and steps to start making your own mask. You can carve masks for fun, for selling (like most african mask carvers do) for your own mask collection or for giving gifts. Many people like to buy hand carved wood masks. If you don't know a lot about mask collecting you can read my Beginners Guide to Mask Collection . I hope you enjoy this video, stay tuned for the rest of the series.
I decided to post a few videos on Mask Carving out of wood. It is a very interesting and age old art and a very rewarding experience if you can see your own masterpiece coming to life. Masks are used for so many things, decorative, storytelling, warding off of evil spirits, sacred ritualsetc. So if you are interested in masks and the carving thereof, I hope you will enjoy this series of videos on carving wooden masks and making. This is the first video of the series and it will give you an introduction to mask making. It will tell you a bit a bout different kinds of masks and what mask carving is all about.
Masks Rock Africa's Cradle of Voodoo, Explorer Says
Deep within the soul of Africa there can be heard a distant sound, the pulse of the rhythmic beat of dancing drums. Scattered throughout tiny villages during festival season, the dancing masks of West Africa can be heard and seen.
I have had a long fascination with mask dancing around the world, especially in the West African countries of Benin and Togo. Since the mid-1990s, I have journeyed here to witness the rituals of voodoo and the powerful Gelede and Egungun mask dances of the Yoruba people. Now I have returned as a National Geographic Society photographer on a cultural expedition with my friend and associate Wade Davis, a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence. We are in search of the roots of voodoo.
We journey to West Africa, during the height of the spiritual season of celebration, renewal, and the transition into the Voodoo New Year in September. The Gelede mask dance is by far the happier and more entertaining of the numerous mask dances. Its primary goal is to both entertain and bridge the worlds of the dead and the living, considered the sacred and the profane.
The mask dance in Africa is charged with the responsibility of keeping the balance of life between humans and the gods. The mask becomes the visual and living manifestation of the gods, both good and evil.
Balance of Power The Gelede mask acts out daily life, and more often than not, the conflicts and misdeeds of the mortal man. All the events of the past year—theft, love affairs, corruption, abuse of officials—are brought to light. The head performer, "Efe," a female character, acts out her performance with sarcastic remarks and reprimands that serve to lighten intricate village tensions. A central part of the Gelede mask dances are the performances of the women spirits, especially the head female Gelede spirit, Iya Lase. This female mask performs to balance the power of the witches always found throughout African tribal society.
As Benin villagers gather once a year for their annual Gelede mask dance, they will once again be woven into the deep and long tapestry of responsibilities of again becoming an honorable citizen—to the family, the village, the community, and the spirits that dwell at the edge of the forest.
Cult of the Dead Where the Gelede masks embrace the rituals of daily life, the great masks of the Egungun people speak of the cult of the dead.
When members of a Benin village experience a great Egungun mask dance, they are in the presence of their dead ancestors. As drums beat into the heat of the African night, the past and the present merge and the death masks of the Egungun swirl. There is both fear and hope that the ritual will give way to optimism for the future. The purpose of the Egungun dance, and the performance of the masks in attendance, is to cleanse and reconcile the community and liberate it from burden. A visit by the dancing dead ancestors demands a sense of responsibility to the living to behave themselves on a daily basis.
Egungun dance ceremonies also perform the important task of exposing misconduct within the village and avenging it. Punishment is swift.
If touched by the mask, a person reveals to the village they are guilty. They are then banished to a symbolic death within the living world. However, with an offering of money or alcohol to the Egungun mask, the person can save themselves from metaphorical death and shame.
The mask dances are always performed by the initiated men of every village that make up the secret societies who have gone through an intricate series of rituals to be accepted into the group. Once accepted into these secret societies, the men will be able to know the power of the masks and will be well versed in the stories concerning the myths, prayers, chants, and magical practices to each community. These men will be qualified to play the sacred ceremonial musical instruments that allow the mask dancers to fall into trance and become the conduit for the spirits to present in the living world. Even female characters are played by the men.
With the passing of the festival season that marks the end of sacred dances for another year, the masks have performed their task of keeping the forces of life and death in balance. The masks again have demanded their toll, namely the responsibility that every human appease the forces of the spirit world beyond their control and be well behaved for the next year.
The Gelede and Egungun dances of the Yoruba are the visible affirmation of the elusive world of the African spiritual world and of the powerful magic that lies within Africa's modern psyche.
You can also start your own voodoo mask collection. Browse through Oraclemask's Online Mask Store
Tiki Masks are carved wooden masks that represent deities or gods from the Hawaiian and Polynesian Culture. They are used as home decor and they also serve various purposes such as warding off evil spirits and increasing the owners fertility! They hold such high significance in the Polynesian culture that they, along with other Tiki sculptures, have become defining symbols of the Tiki culture.
Many of the Tiki Masks are designed based on the four main gods. Kane is the god of sunlight, and natural life; Ku is the god of war; Lono is the god of peace, winds, rain, sports and fertility; Kanaloa is the god of the ocean. Each Tiki God holds a different meaning.
Tiki Masks are the perfect conversation pieces to add to any modern home. They are exquisite pieces that have intricate details, making them real works of art. They can also be used to add to the authentic feel of Luaus and other feasts. Tiki Masks are also used as decorative pieces in Hawaiian restaurants and Tiki Bars. Tiki Masks can be used both indoors and outdoors and they can mix beautifully even with modern art pieces. And it's not that difficult to learn more about mask collecting.
Tiki Masks come in various sizes from 8 inches to over 5 feet tall. The complexity and sophistication of the designs do not depend on the size of the Tiki Masks. There are relatively smaller masks that contain magnificent details while there are big masks that feature simple designs. Hand-carved wooden Tiki sculptures are now evaluated and regarded on the same level as other forms of art and sculpture, with the benefit to their owners of being rich with meaning. There is no questioning the amount of effort put into creating wonderful Tiki statues and Tiki Masks. Authentic Tiki Masks have well thought designs and are carved by expert Tiki artists who are able to combine meaning, function and aesthetic value. Each element in the sculpture adds meaning and value to the piece of art.
Authentic Tiki Masks are carved from hardwoods by expert craftsmen and then finished off with oil, wax or polish. There are also some Tiki Masks that feature color, but the most common design is the traditional stained hard wood sculpture. Because of the materials used and process that the Tiki Masks undergo during their creation, they can last a lifetime.
If you are planning on organizing a Luau or creating a permanent Tiki lounge in your home then it's easy to order authentic Tiki sculptures online to match the tiki theme and the atmosphere you are creating for the party or the lounge. There are so many Tiki Masks to choose from. When choosing a Tiki Mask, choose one that will beautifully match your space and also consider the meanings of the masks so you can get one that will hold significance in your life.
Check out great specials on our Amazon guaranteed online Tiki Mask shop, and start your Tiki collection now.
Gautama Buddha was born in 563 b.c. in northeast India. The Buddha was the son of the King of the Sakyas. Suddhodana, who ruled at Kapilavastu, on the border of Nepal. His mother was Queen Maya. He was named Siddhartha. He lived amidst the pleasures of palace life and at age 16 he was married to Princess Yasodhara. They had a son named Rahula. After seeing a decrepid old man, an invalid, and an ascetic beggar, he learned of suffering and decided to embrace asceticism.
Soon afterwards, at age 29, Siddhartha left the palace and his family and went to a hermitage where he became the monk Gautama, or, as he is still called, Sakyamuni (The ascetic of the Sakyas). One day, meditating under a sacred figtree, he attained perfect illumination (Bodhi). He had become a Buddha. From there on he traveled and preached for 44 years what was to become one of the main religions of the world. He died at Kusinagara at age 80.
Explanation and meaning of Buddha mask features:
Life size heads of Buddha began appearing in Indonesia in the late 12th and early 13th century as Buddhism mixed with Hinduism. Buddha was originally a Hindu, and the heads are said to represent the face of Buddha at the moment of enlightenment. Since then many wooden masks were made to represent Buddha. These carved wood masks, unlike African masks, looks strange to many western people, but every feature of the face of buddha has a special meaning. If you look at the features of the wood buddha mask carefully, you could also understand the meaning and culture behind it.
The large earlobes are associated with the wealthy class that Buddha was born into. The top knot or ushnisa is a symbol of spiritual wisdom, while the hair curls. half-closed eyes, and smiling mouth represent deep meditation and peace of mind. There is a great sense of inner serenity and power with the achievement of perfection and compassion represented by these heads and carvings of face masks. If you hang it in your house, you too would maybe feel this deep feelings of peace and serenity.
Great deals at Amazon.com for hand made wood carved Buddha masks:
A mask is a whole or partial cover for the face. The functions of masks throughout the world are remarkably similar. Masks have two main purposes; to conceal the identity of the wearer, usually representing another person or creature, or used as a form of protection on many job sites and in sports.The use of masks dates back to man's earliest history. The origin of the mask is not known, but evidence of its presence has been found in primitive times, revealing the important role it has played in our lives. Early masks were probably made to represent animals because hunting played a large role in primitive societies.
People of many cultures-both recent and ancient-have made masks. Gold, stone, wood, bark, copper, bronze, tin, clay, feathers, and ivory are some of the materials used in mask making. Some masks are also decorated with colors, patterns, and textures. The resulting piece might look fierce, festive, or solemn. Some masks are one part of an elaborate costume.
Some times even experts can’t know the exact function of a particular mask because there are no records of its original use. What they can do is make suggestions and guesses regarding the intentions of the artist and the wearer. The meaning of the mask and the mask ceremony remain a mystery to the outsider. In the modern world, people might collect masks, and museums might display them, but originally the masks had a specific purpose. They were much more than decorative art objects.
The earliest known allusion to mask use is found in a Southern France cave. It is believed to have been painted around 20,000 BC. The art depicts a human masked in deer skin and antlers.Masks in traditional societies are not thought of as art objects. They are functioning sacred objects imbued with tremendous power and used for ancestor workshop, healing, funerals, social prestige and control, as well as initiation and fertility rites. Symbolic masks were devised to be worn during ceremonies of many ancient peoples. These masks portrayed gods, animals and spirits and were worn ceremonially for communicating with supernatural forces believed to rule the universe.
The classic drama of ancient Greece brought theatrical masks to the height of development. They were slightly larger than life size and made of canvas. They were often fitted at the mouth and made with a small megaphone for amplification of the actor's voice. Masks representing particular emotions or characters are worn in traditional Japanese no plays.There are many types of commonly known masks that are simple disguises. One such disguise is the domino, which is a plain cloth half mask and is worn on such occasions as a masquerade ball. Another is the handkerchief which can be tied over the nose and mouth and used as a makeshift protective mask. Western outlaws and bandits in the movies found this disguise quite acceptable.
Many modern criminals often wear ski masks to cover the entire head, as well as women's pantyhose as a mask. One of the most commonly recognized types of masks is the false face. It represents another person or creature and made usually of paper mache or plastic. It is most commonly worn on such occasions as Halloween and Marti Gras.
People have used masks for many other reasons as well. For example, actors from ancient Greece and Rome played some roles wearing masks. This was to facilitate the actor’s impersonation of the character. The Japanese and Chinese still use elaborate masks in some of their traditional theater. Although in Western society most actors do not use masks in theater anymore, a pair of masks, one comic and one tragic, have become a widely recognized symbol of drama.
People make masks for many other reasons, too. Tibetans hang brightly colored, fierce-looking masks to scare away demons. The Hopi Native American tribe in the south-western United States, make kachinas, masks representing helpful spirits. The ancient Egyptians made masks that covered their mummies.
It doesn't matter how much you know or don't know about masks, you can appreciate the appearance of a mask even if you know nothing about its meaning. But if you can learn how and why the mask was used, you can increase you appreciation of it and understand the cultural traditions of the people that made it.
In Africa masks can be traced back to well past Paleolithic times. These art objects were, and are still made of various materials, included are leather, metal, fabric and various types of wood. African masks are considered amongst the finest creations in the art world and are highly sought after by art collectors. Many of the pieces some replica's, can be viewed in museums and art galleries in many parts of the world. Masking ceremonies in Africa have great cultural and traditional significance. Latest developments and understanding of Aesthetic principles, religious and ceremonial values, have brought about a greater insight into the ideas and moral values that African artists express in their art.
During celebrations, initiations, crop harvesting, war preparation, peace and trouble times, African masks are worn by a chosen or initiated dancer. It can be worn in three different ways: vertically covering the face: as helmets, encasing the entire head, and as crest, resting upon the head, which was commonly covered by material as part of the disguise. African masks often represent a spirit and it is strongly believed that the spirit of the ancestors possesses the wearer. Ritual ceremonies generally depict deities, spirits of ancestors, mythological beings, good and or evil, the dead, animal spirits, and other beings believed to have power over humanity. Masks of human ancestors or totem ancestors (beings or animals to which a clan or family traces its ancestry) are often objects of family pride; when they are regarded as the dwelling of the spirit they represent, the masks may be honored with ceremonies and gifts.
During the mask ceremony the dancer goes into deep trance, and during this state of mind he "communicate" with his ancestors. A wise man or translator sometimes accompanies the wearer of the mask during the ritual. The dancer brings forth messages of wisdom from his ancestors. Often the messages are grunted utterances and the translator will accurately decipher the meaning of the message. Rituals and ceremonies are always accompanied with song, dance and music, played with traditional African musical instruments.
For thousands of years, rituals and ceremonies was and to a lesser extent is still an integral part of African life. The gradual, effects of parceled out territories to Colonial governments, and the ensuing damage to traditional economies followed by the displacement of huge quantities of people, by colonialism, resulted in economies and food production systems being wrecked. In general the vast number of people have lost some of its tribal identity and culture, hence masking ceremonies are no longer common place in Africa.
I am 29 years old. I love many things like the outdoors, scuba diving, geocaching, exercising, dining out, socializing, partying, reading, computers, games, watching videos, producing videos and many other things. I love watching funny videos (Who doesn't). I also like arts and crafts and enjoy collecting masks from all the different parts of the world while I am traveling.