African Mask - Teke

I chose to base my design off of this mask because it typically is considerably larger than the head of the wearer, granted while mine was not that was the reason I chose this mask. I like that aspect because to me it gives the feel of the importance of the mask and how it symbolizes something much larger and more powerful than the one chosen to wear the mask, whether it be an ancestor's spirit or animal's, it shows that they hold themselves in lower regards when compared to their deities.

The Teke people are part of the Bantu cultural group, their difference being that they speak the Teke language. Teke people are located in the central Africa region with minorities in the West. Teke masks are mainly used in traditional dancing ceremonies such as wedding, funeral and initiation ceremonies of young men entering adulthood. The mask is also used as a social and political identifier of social structure within a tribe or family. They are round flat disk-like wooden masks that have abstract patterns and geometric shapes with horizontal lines that are painted in earthly colors. The masks have narrow eye slits to enable the mask wearer to see without being seen. They have holes pierced along the edge for the attachment of a woven raffia dress with feathers and fibers. The mask is held in place with a bite bar at the back that the wearer holds in his teeth. The dress would add to the mask's costume and conceal the wearer. Conclusively, I did not find anything that identified the mask as representation  of spirits or deities, therefore making my reason for choosing the mask less awesome.

www.rebirth.co.za/tekemask/history.htm

http://www.artyfactory.com/africanmasks/masks/teke.htm

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