African Mask FAQs

African Masks:

What is the role of African masks?
In Africa, the mask plays the role of a deity who rules the laws of a village community.

Where were African masks formerly stored?
In ancient times, masks were kept in the bush, outside the village, because they were sacred.

How can you display African mask at home?
To display a mask at home, it's very easy. Either it can be hung on the wall using a point and a wire; or we can put it on a wooden base containing a small iron base to be well highlighted.

How do you maintain a statue that you own?
To maintain a statue that we own, it must be cleaned or dusted often with a brush. Also it can be coated with industrial beeswax to prevent it from being infested.

What are the shapes of African masks?
There are two types of masks in Africa:

  • the anthropomorphic mask (human face)
  • the anthropozoomorphic mask (half human face, half animal)

Nowadays, does African art feed its man?
Yes, African art fully nourishes its man in Africa because African pieces are becoming more and more expensive in the West.

Who makes the African  mask?
It is the sculptor who makes the mask. He uses adzes to carve the wood to give it a rounded shape. Then he uses natural pigments to give it colors and not industrial paint.

What is the main message conveyed by African statues, apart from their function?
Apart from their function, African statues convey as the main message of the filiation and identity of each people, that is to say the different canon of beauty specific to a given people.

What is the particularity of the Baoulé female statuettes so much appreciated by European collectors?
The peculiarity of Baoulé art from Côte d'Ivoire is found in the finesse of the style and the beauty of its pieces.

What economic value can an object of art take over the years?
African art objects double in value every ten (10) years. So the longer an object lasts over time, its market value increases.

What is the point of buying and keeping a statue?
The point of buying a statue and keeping it is to appropriate your own African culture and to be able to pass it on to our future generations. Also there is another economic interest to the extent that the preserved parts will have an added value over the years.

What are the products used for the good conservation of African tribal art objects?
Several types of products can be used for the good conservation of African art objects. Those are :

  • shea butter
  • traditional palm oil
  • industrial beeswax

In which part of the house is it advisable to display his mask and statuette?
In a house, it is advisable to display a statue or a mask near the walls. This will prevent the walls of your houses from getting dirty.

Why are masks or statues from Gabon or Congo nowadays very popular in Europe?
This is due to the fact that these Central African relics are not widely copied and they have kept their ancient or primitive styles.

Where and with whom can you buy an interesting African piece?
You have to buy interesting pieces from antique dealers or galleries specializing in African art because their works are always authentic.

What is the preferred material for making African masks?
The preferred material for making African masks is wood. This is because these indigenous peoples lived in the forests and thus had enormous quantities of wood.

How are masks carved in Africa?
In Africa, masks are carved in the forest, away from all prying eyes. First, the tree is felled after making ritual libations. Then we cut the wood according to the circular shape of the mask before hollowing out the inside. Finally we use the little adzes to make the scarifications and other parts of the face of the mask.

What are the functions associated with masks and statues in Africa?
In Africa, masks and statues are associated with three essential functions:

  • religious functions
  • social functions
  • therapeutic functions

What are the qualities and skills of the mask wearer?
The wearer of the mask is not an ordinary person like the rest of us. He is a person who is initiated into certain mystical practices. He has supernatural powers.

What time of year does a mask come out?
The mask comes out at a precise moment to carry out its mission. For example, if it is a fertility mask, it will come out during periods of plowing in the fields to guarantee the harvest.