Masks - How to make a mask, Face, Venetian, Masquerade, Theater Masks and more!
Common mask types
Theatre masks - Ancient Greece has handed us down a pair of plain white masks representing two basic emotions and acting styles - comedic and dramatic. Theatre masks focuses an audience's attention on the actor's movements and speech, and the design can amplify sound waves and reach more people during a performance. A similar-looking mask is worn by actors in a Japanese Noh play, along with ceremonial robes. You'll also see masks used by medicine men for their trance dances.

Masquerade masks - a standard in balls, masquerade masks come in a variety of formats, shapes and sizes, for men and women. They are also known as Venetian masks, whose medieval court held the world's first masquerade balls. Masquerade masks add elements of mystery and glamour to parties.

The most common type is the half-face mask, which covers only the eye area. A full mask though leaves the mouth area open, to allow for eating and drinking. More elaborate masks cover the whole head, with feathers and other designs mounted on the back. Stick masks, which have to be held close to the face, are mostly decorative and for sightseeing rather than dancing. An elastic band makes a mask comfortable for various sizes.

Face masks are popular for fun parties and occasions like Halloween. They can take the shape of animals, popular cartoon characters, or ghoulish creations.
Mask types around the world
Many mask collectors make it a point to have a representative from as many cultures of the world as they can. Here are some interesting mask designs grouped by traditional communities in the six inhabited continents:

Africa: Here, masks were used in shamanic rituals and as cultural props for initiation into puberty and an adult role in village society. The Dan and N'Tomo tribes make masks with stylised facial features, with a smooth surface of wood or clay, and marked by simple lines and eye-holes. Pendant masks from Benin were not worn on the face but strung around the neck as a symbol of power.

North America: the Inuit of Alaska made burial masks to honour their dead, as well as ceremonial masks for shamans and as a spirit-guide for hunting or recovery from illness. The Inuits and other North American native masks were made from leather, bones, and wood.

Latin America: The Aztecs' most ornate masks incorporated precious gems and gold into their designs. The masks in this region express themselves with colour and a wide variety of materials, fur, papier mache, leather and moulded metal. Brazil's Mardi Gras celebrations feature a rich tradition of decorative masks.

Asia: masks are used in Chinese lion dances, Tibetan stage plays and religious rituals. The Japanese Noh mask is porcelain white and has the barest minimum of facial features. India's mask designs left their mark on Southeast Asia, which developed particularly in Bali, Indonesia.

Oceania: Aboriginal masks are dot-painted, and are present in initiation ceremonies, serving as totemic symbols. Hawaii and the Maori have fierce-looking full-face masks. Gigantic masks from the South Pacific were not meant to be worn but were used in rituals. Tribes in Papua New Guinea create masks from feathers, seashells, lime and wood.

Europe: the Comedia dell'arte theatre that started with Italian improvisers brought masked actors all over Europe during the Middle Ages. The earliest masks found in Europe were animal forms, and during carnival season and local festivals you'll find these fanciful designs representing the tumult between good and evil against the backdrop of fading winter.
Types of Masks - Masquerade, Theatre, Face and Eye Masks

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