The masks act as officials controlling the women and children outside the village, or work as scavengers rounding up food by begging, borrowing, and stealing from citizens. The plaque behind the head of the Kota figure has been described, confidently, as "rays of the sun", "horns of a goat", "a crescent moon", and a "Christian cross". It was considered a very powerful image and was not often seen. The types of animals depicted in the masks are selected not for their economic importance but for their symbolic meanings and roles in Ijo myth and ritual. Art historians have suggested, and ethnographical research partly confirmed, that these works of Neolithic art were created by proto-Fulani groups: A look at the Liberia case.
ANNIKA S. HIPPLE
Coming-of-Age Rituals in Africa: Tradition & Change
Thanks mainly to archaeologists, African bronzes and terracottas no longer belong to an "unknown" past. African masks themselves are some of the most fascinating works in all of human history. Gbandi and Loma boys must be circumcised before they are allowed to enter the actual Sacred Bush, hence there are two separate structures involved. The form and symbolism of the mask vary little. In , a young Xhosa man was beaten to death during a circumcision ritual, and two years later, another boy died from malnutrition after being isolated with his age mates in the mountains without food. Several examples were collected and first published by Father Clamens
Coming-of-Age Rituals in Africa: Tradition & Change | ANNIKA S. HIPPLE
The horns are eight in number and rise up straight in a row, like stretched fingers above the top of the head and on the same plane as the ears. Various factors — the anti-FGC campaigns, the changing influence of Islam and Christianity, political upheaval, civil war, modernization, and financial and time constraints — have all had tremendous impacts on the practice of initiation rituals. Eric Herold estimates these images to have been created by nomadic herdsmen possibly between and B. Masked dancing can serve educational purposes, passing on important cultural traditions, or the event may be purely theatrical, providing entertainment for the community. Krono girls also undergo a final trial in which they are lowered several times onto a sacred stone in a test of their virginity. In , a year-old Kenyan girl died after trying to perform FGC on herself.
Art frequently serves as an adjunct and symbol of the powers of lineage and clan. The color white represents the spirit world for many African tribes, like the Fang in Gabon, who ironically treated the first Europeans with respect, for they believed them to be ancestral spirits. Unlike those figures, described as deviating from the stylistic canons seen in wooden carvings by being asymmetrical and actively posed, these figures are totally symmetrical and stand calmly with their arms hanging loosely at their sides. These societies bring out their masks during both dry and wet seasons; they "help" with the sowing, weeding, and harvesting of the Bambara's staple crop, millet, and celebrate the coming and going of rain. There are two potential hazards to consider. All show the king seated, his legs crossed, wear-ing emblems of sacred kingship. It will speak to both the spirit and to the person right at the very moment of death in order to catch the last breath, and entreats the spirit not to do anything aggressive or harmful to the village or the people.