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Masks Through the Ages

E Block drama research project

MacKenzie Maddox

on 12 September 2012

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Transcript of Masks Through the Ages

By MacKenzie Maddox Masks Through the Ages Masks are accessories that cover a part of, or the entire face, and can be used in several various ways. They are often used as either costumes, disguises, or as religious/social symbolism. They're usually made of cloth, paper, leather, wood, stone, plastic, vibrant colors, and unique designs. Masks are also convenient for expressing certain moods, or personalities of people, and have been used throughout the world to symbolize certain cultures. What are Masks? Theatrical Masks Theatrical masks were used to represent characters in plays, and performances. Theatrical masks were developed in Western Civilization. In Ancient Greece, a religion that worships Dionysus, who is the god of fruitfulness, abundance, and harvest, began the art of masks when a white linen mask was symbolically used to make Dionysus well known. Ancient Greece Masks In Greek theatrical performances, masks were used mainly to broaden the actor's character and performance. It encountered a built in megaphone to make the actor/actress sound louder and clearer. The actors/actresses would often change masks to impersonate a different character. Masks of the Middle Ages From the 12th through the 16th century (the middle ages), masks were used in mystery plays for characters such as dragons, devils, and demons. Masks of the Renaissance In the 15th century (the Renaissance), comedies became popular, and spread to several countries. The actors in the comedies were usually dressed in humerous masks. Masks and Death Masks were often used in funerals in order to cover up the face of the dead. Some cultures did this to honor the dead, and be in a spiritual relationship with the dead using the mask. In other cultures, masks were used to help the dead not to scare away any good spirits, such as the Malevolent spirit. For the North American Indians, tribes of Africa, and people of the Oceanic Region, masked rituals and ceremonies were held to honor the deceased. In Egypt, from 2040-1786 BC, masks were stylized and made of cloth and plaster. They were decorated with paint, using colors mainly conisiting of silver and gold. In funerals, the masks are used to lead the spirit of the dead back to their last resting place. Egypt Masks South East Asia and South America Masks In Southeast Asia, golden masks were placed on dead kings of Cambodia and Siam. In South America, the Incan royal mummies wore masks made of gold or clay; the more royal you were, the nicer your mask would be. Some of the masks had moveable parts, like ears. Ancient Rome Masks In Ancient Rome, they usually either place masks on the deceased, or hire an actor/actress to wear a mask, resembling the dead. Some of the other masks of Ancient Rome were conserved as ancestor portraits, and were shown at formal ceremonies. Masks of Europe and Japan From the 17th to the 20th century, the masks of the deceased became popular among the Europeans. They were commonly made of wax or liquid plaster. The masks of Japan are very traditional. They use masks to dress up as elderly people, gods, devils, goblins, and goddesses. Colors include white, red, and black. Masks of Tibet and India Still today, the people of Tibet present holy plays that are presented with masked performers. The masks are made of paper mache, cloth, and sometimes even gilt copper. In India, masks are carved of wood, are painted, and normally are presented with "Yak" Tail to place on the sides of the mask. For certain religious reasons, masks were used to prevent diseases. Other Uses of Masks Masks of Indonesia In Indonesia, wooden masks are used in dance dramas, and are named, "Wayany Wong". They developed in the 18th century, and are painted with vivid colors. They're made of wood, metallic, and horsehair. Hunting masks were used in the Stone Age to follow prey. The Altaic and Tungusic Shamans of Siberia often wore these masks. Festival Masks were, and are still used today for events such as Halloween, Mardi Gras, and other masked parties. It's meant to create an amusing, scary, or humerous character. They're also used for storytelling and caricature. www.42explore.com/mask.htm Works Cited http://www.kmop.gr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6&Itemid=76&lang=en
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