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Daily objects and jewellery (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

A great many African objects are embellished with abstract designs and with figurative carvings. In both cases this added ornamentation has more than merely decorative values. It is usually weighted with a very precise significance, its role being to give information about the owner’s social standing and to add to his prestige. However, it may also be used in a ceremonial context and has implicit symbolism.

Magical practices (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

Magic is practised throughout Africa to influence the powers of the supernatural through the mediation of statues or fetishes. But whereas the witchdoctor is seen as someone who undertakes on his own account a personal communication with the evil powers and because of that he is feared and rejected, the diviner or fetishist operates in principle for the good of all. His help is sough in times of need, for he is seen as the mediator between members of the tribe and all the powers of darkness. For this reason he also acts as healer.

Ancestors rituals and spirits evocations (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

The deep meaning of certain masks and statuettes is based on ancestor and mythic worships. Their principal function is to allow communication with supernatural forces or nature spirits.

Fertility rites (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

Dolls and statuettes that are made in the african tradition in relation to fertility have an important and multiple role for young girls and women. Always associated with the idea of maternity they are surrounded with a lot of care.

Social life rites (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

Certain times of the African social life are surrounded by ceremonies and dances involving several masks. Their action makes stronger the links of the community but also allows to maintain authority, social control and to discourage bad behaviours.

Funerals rituals (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

Traditional ceremonies linked to death take a very important place all the more since the belief of the next world. Whereas the body dies, the spirit and the soul live on and are seen as continuing to surround the living, who are menaced by their jealousy aroused by their death, a vital force which must be seized and channelled through dancing for the benefit of those who remain on earth. This is not without danger but the mask protects the dancer who wears it as a safeguard against attack by the dead man’s spirit. Among the Punu of Angola, the members of the Moukouji society wear during the funerals of one of their members a mask which supposedly represents ancestors faces.

Initiation rites (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

The period of initiation is crucial in the traditional African society even if they take place on various ways depending of the tribe. Some have rites of passage for boys, others for girls and still others for both sexes. These are rites to render them adults with rights but conscious of their responsibilities. These also give them a certain amount of social and moral values.

Agricultural rituals (Thematique)

Saturday 29 November 2008 by Florence

In the African regions that have a seasonal rhythm of life allowing relatively important cultures, ceremonies take place at the end of the harvest. The participants ask the spirits and the gods concerned to grant them descendants, to help the crops and increase their livestock.

Life cycle of masks (Thematique)

Sunday 2 December 2007 by Brad
The mask is always the bearer of a fearsome magical energy for those who animated it as well as those who view it. To understand the origin of this ‘‘power’’, we must look at its origins and at the myths of its creation. The oldest of the mask societies always say that they have been created in a (...)

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