The origins of Chinese masks are rooted in ancient religious shamanism. Over the centuries and many generations, artists refined the use of colors on Chinese masks. Today, color continues to be used to indicate emotions or give clues about the identity of a character.
Types of Chinese Masks
There are several types of Chinese masks: dancer's masks, masks for festive occasions, masks for newborns, masks designed to keep homes safe and theatrical masks. When used on the stage, masks help viewers determine, at a glance, the attributes of a theatrical character. Masks are usually made from wood. However, Chinese opera masks, possibly the style that is best known in the west, are actually painted on actors' faces.
Chinese Masks and Color Meanings
Many colors are used in any given Chinese mask, but the dominant colors impart specific characteristics.
Cultural masks from every corner of the world express different meanings, depending on the context in which they are made.
African tribal masks are as varied as the tribes of Africa.