November-December 2006

Tribal masks
5th grade artists created paper tribal masks.

Masks are an ancient art form. The Egyptians created beautiful gold funereal masks for their king's. The Greeks and Romans used clay and linen masks in theater.

Tribal wooden masks are often colored with natural dyes and pigments created from vegetables, plants, seeds, tree bark, soil and insects.

In the early 20th Century, artists like Pablo Picasso and Andre Derain were inspired by the bold abstract designs that they discovered in African tribal masks. They collected and used these works of art to influence their own style.

Most tribal masks are used as part of a ceremonial costume for religious and social events. They represent the spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. Some combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment.

Students invented their own tribe/culture and created sketches for their mask's based on these ideas. What is the purpose of the mask? Spirit guide, warrior, medicine man…where does your tribe live? coast, dessert, mountains…) Finished masks were created from construction paper, cardboard, beads, seeds, yarn and other decorative embellishments.