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African Animal Masks

These masks can help teach about culture and traditions of various tribe and social structures with masks based upon photographs of actual, historical African masks.

Each real carved mask is created according to a traditional style, depending upon customs and traditions of each tribe or family group. These ceremonial masks are generally worn by trained performers. African masks are dramatic portraits of spirit beings, departed ancestors, and invisible powers of social control.


Some African masks can come complete with elaborately decorated full-body costumes. These outfits were worn originally as part of traditional celebrations, complete with costumed dancers, vibrant music, and stylized dance movements.

These patterns should be printed on card stock or traced onto cardboard. Someone skilled in scroll saw wood work could really make a sweet owl mask out of these pattern pieces. I wonder how the designs could work with Poly Shrink or Shrink-Art, those sheets of thin, flexible plastic that you color, then bake in an oven to shrink. This owl might make a great, unique piece of African jewelry that a child might enjoy creating.