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African masks

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Almost synonymous with every African experience, is the African mask. Masks are an essential feature of the traditional culture and art of the peoples of Africa, and while the specific implications associated to ritual masks widely vary in different cultures, some traits are common to most African cultures: for example, masks usually have a spiritual or religious meaning and they are used in ritual dances and social and religious events, and a special status is attributed to the artists that create masks and to those that wear them in ceremonies. In most cases, mask-making is an art that is passed on from father to son, along with the knowledge of the symbolic meanings conveyed by such masks.

Johannesburg is a great place to shop for yours. Visit the African Craft Market, craft-work from all over Africa is sold in this double-story craft market. Prices are negotiable, but you should look at spending about R300 to R400. Another option is the African Queen, they are also well-known for their wonderful bronze sculptures; the collection is extensive and includes masks, figurines and so forth. Also visit if you’re looking for Zulu pots and baskets or zebra and Nguni skins, drums and animal horns.



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African traditional mask, en.wikipedia.org